‘Data Hawker’
Understanding Perceptions around privacy + nudges to highlight the importance of it through a guerilla experiment.

Aadhaar is a Unique Identification System based on the biometric + demographic data of citizens. It has faced many security breaches which raise the question of the potential misuse of information of the unassuming common people who are busy fulfilling basic needs.

intent  Can we make common people understand the potency of their personal + private information? 


A social experiment was designed which would make people believe in the scenario.

This was done with real people in the old city of Ahmedabad at the Teen Darwaza Market. (picture above) It is a busy street market that attracts people from different walks of life, who come there to shop, pray, sell, or are simply there on an errand. 
The socio-economic group that the experiment attracted were essential middle to low income groups, taking a chance or were just curious.   

“Every evening at the intersection of the temple and the mosque at the Bhadra Kali Market, there sits a hawker. His stall is a large metallic book (that doesn’t quite give the ‘hawker-market’ feeling) and an Agni icy gel pen. The sign says ‘Aadhar Lottery’.

Curious visitors stop and ask what he is selling. All he says is ‘leave your aadhaar card copy here and you’ll enter the lottery’. This is the order of the day until 8 pm when an insignificant woman walks up to this hawker who hands her the book.

He is a data hawker. There is no lottery. She is one of the many buyers.”

The experiment conducted was based on this narrative which was designed to bring alive intent.

The Making of Make-Belief 


The belief-factor in this experiment was the key to its success. For that to happen, the exhibtion, characters and collaterals needed to be plausible. Why will people voluntarily give out information to strangers? 

initial attempt: low-key, like a street vendor. 


In the first part of the experiment, a hope of a reward was planted.


 final attempt: official-looking , well-branded Collaterals of make belief

Collaterals of make belief

Collaterals of make-belief. intentional mistakes throughout the language of the identity were the points where I wanted my audience to suspend themselves from the make-belief to question the system.


Creating simple informative anecdotes to explain why this is problematic.

The second part shattered this hope with reality.


This was done by a double loop process of experiential awareness. The people who handed  their information to the actors, were then informed that the data they have just provided can be used (for example) to forge their identity. Through simple and relatable anecdotes the respondents of this experiment were informed of the potency of their personal information. Thus, creating a long term nudge or a memory for future reference.
 Identity cards as visual artefacts of make belief
 newpaper clipping of a speculative advertisemnet

 flyer in two languages, cautioning the people about the fictional aspect of the make-belief 

The narrative was extended to an exhibition to reach a wider audience. The show is a retrospect of the events around data privacy. It’s set in the future - from the incident till the point in time when the show is being held.





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