FSU Art Professor Owen Mundy’s on-line art work, I Know Where Your Cat Lives, continues to receive international attention in the UK and New Zealand.
Owen Mundy, art professor at Florida State University, has created I Know Where Your Cat Lives, which is part art project, part cute pictures and part project to raise privacy issues. It explores the effect of the explosion of data generated by people’s online activity in their everyday lives.
“The web economy has grown based completely on surveillance,” Professor Mundy said, and added that he wanted to find a way of raising awareness of how much data people were making publicly available, often without realising it.
The project was triggered several years ago when Professor Mundy found photographs of his then three-year-old daughter on social media had uploaded their location without him realising.
Cat pictures are ubiquitous, funny and harmless – or so it would seem. But there’s a sinister undercurrent and a serious point to be made.
Professor Mundy has revealed how your cute cat pics posted to social media could in fact allow stalkers to pinpoint your location. Because location data is often added to images via a phone’s camera or an app, details of where a photo has been taken within eight metres can be uncovered.
Mundy’s website, which was launched last year, now has 5.3 million cat pictures pulled from social media and loaded into a Google Atlas map. The map can be zoomed in on to show how many cats are in the area while a ‘random cat’ button enables the user to view images of cats throughout the world.
Privacy is an ongoing, changing thing, and I hope this becomes part of the conversation.