Want to Track Me, Feds? Here's Everything I Do

Hasan Elahi has found privacy through publishing everything in his life
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 30, 2011 4:37 PM CDT
Artist and professor Hasan Elahi is responding to security intrusions into his life by documenting and publicizing everything he does.   (Wikipedia)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Targeted by the INS and the FBI after 9/11, one American artist reacted by overwhelming authorities with reams of personal data. Officials stopped Bangladesh-born Hasan Elahi at an airport in 2002 and, over several months, put him through hours of scary interrogations. Agreeing to update them on his activities, he created a website with pics of where he goes, what he eats, what his dinner fork looks like—everything. “You want to watch me? Fine," Elahi writes in the New York Times. "But I can watch myself better than you can, and I can get a level of detail that you will never have.”

Server logs at his site indicate it's been looked at by the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the Executive Office of the President. But Elahi deliberately leaves the data disorganized, making it a kind of art installation. "By putting everything about me out there, I am simultaneously telling everything and nothing about my life," he writes. "In an era in which everything is archived and tracked, the best way to maintain privacy may be to give it up."

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |