Installation to highlight privacy concerns with smart phones

Smartphone (MGN)

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – From phone calls to text messages to snapping photos, smart phones constantly keep people plugged in while they send your information out.

“One thing people don’t realize is that they’re phones are essentially tracking devices,” said Alex Webb, assistant professor of emergent technology at The University of New Mexico’s School of Architecture and Planning. “As they move through any sort of space, their locations are being uploaded to servers and then actually being sold to various interested entities.”

Webb is working on a project that would help demonstrate that.

He is creating a Big Data Wall that will be displayed at 516 Arts downtown in September.

Projected onto the wall will be information about people

Visiting the gallery that’s collected from their smart phones.

“It will be a large digital projection, and it will probably be an aerial view looking down at dots of people. As the dots move, they may establish connections between other people they have connections with,” Webb said.

It will show who people are, maybe what kind of phone they’re carrying and possibly even their social media accounts with the permission of gallery visitors.

“We are hoping from the Data Wall people will be able to understand a little bit more about how a lot of their information is not as private as they assume,” Webb said.

“I definitely understand that everything we do is tracked,” Rachel Benge said. “It’s creepy.”

“Privacy is a huge concern,” said Lauren Spensley.

“It is unavoidable unfortunately in this day and age,” said Chris Hodges. “Everything is going to have that built-in capability.”

The Data Wall will be part of a larger exhibit featured at 516 Arts in downtown from August 29 – October 31. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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