AKQA Watch Dogs Campaign Simulates Digital Footprint

AKQA has developed an online campaign promoting Ubisoft's Watch Dogs. It explores how technology can expose data by creating a digital footprint from combining statistics with available public -- yet personal -- data.

The agency set up the Web site DigitalShadow.com, which simulates the process of scrapping publicly available yet personal, information on Facebook and combines it with other data sources like the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

It analyzes the data to profile the user based on likes, dislikes, travel and financial status to determine how a person or an organization might exploit the information.

The simulation takes place in Chicago. The town runs a massive citywide operating system connecting the Internet of Things like homes and businesses, cars and other devices. The simulation aims to bring awareness to the issues of connectivity and data tagging to paint of picture of how someone behaves, explains Ed Davis, account lead on DigitalShadow.com. "It shows the darker side and the dangers when a malicious organization or government gets hold of that information," he said.

While the technology simulates an experience, it is based on real user data with analysis. The findings reveal an experience that shows the user what the technology collects and how it combines the information with other data, such as the people the user interacts with on Facebook. It segments data into obsessions to determine what makes the user tick. For example, posts are scrapped to determine the most commonly used words. It also tries to guess at passwords based on personal information in the person's profile.

Finally, the simulation combines all the data to access what the value of the information might be to someone who wants to steal and sell it for malicious or benign purposes.

Ubisoft will release the game Watch Dogs late May 2014. In the game, everyone casts a digital shadow. The secrets lead to game play.

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