Participate Translate Blank profile picture

Personal Data: Where is Waldo, World version 

Published on

A new plugin on your web-browser, Citizen Ex, traces all your data while navigating on the world wild web. A genuine new citizenship is born.

9 o’clock, I just arrived in the office, I press the ON button on my laptop. A refill of coffee and my day can start. Checking my mails, my twitter, my tasks and must do of the day. Ten hours later, my work laptop is off, coming on with a fifteen-minute walk to my flat, eating quickly and this time checking my Facebook on my own laptop, watching TV-series, checking my mails, skyping my friends, checking my mails and going to bed.

A normal day, mundane even. But, while using two laptops, in the same city, my personal data travel across the world, creating a kind a new identity. Results are surprising. 

This is where Citizen EX is useful. Designed by James Bridle, a genius geek based in the UK, Citizen EX captures your algorithmic citizenship, decrypts your data which "is [according to the website] not assigned at birth, or through complex legal documents". Your citizenship based on your data, what a weird concept?  

I decided to upload this new plugin after reading a fascinating article on the French media Rue 89 weeks ago. And every night I am taking a sneak peak on my algorithmic citizenship. Here is my details. 

According to Citizen EX, I should apply for a Green Card i.e. applying for the US citizenship. And everyone should do it since all website part of the Google conglomerate (Gmail, Youtube, Google Maps etc.) are based over the Atlantic. 

My 'true citizenship', or at least according to my passport is French, ranked second according to this tool. Expected since my bank account is based in France, or my countless hours surfing on French websites. 

Thirdly, Ireland. Not that surprising, the first social networks plateform, Facebook, transfers most of its data of EU-based profiles in Ireland where is its continental headquarter. 

Then my algorithmic data indicates the United-Kingdom, where are the servers of the news media organisation where I am working, even if my office is meters away from the European Commission, in Brussels, in Belgium - the country I decided to settle a year and a half ago. 

And you, what your data is telling you for your algorithmic citizenship? 

Story by

Quentin Ariès

Reporter. That's a lot already, no?