Respecting or promoting design implications of user values (e.g. inclusiveness, privacy, sustainability, safety, human welfare, etc.), possibly conflicts with other upheld values during the design process (for example, convenience, well-being, etc.). Being confronted with such value conflict encourages me to be attentive as to how I incorporate and express values in the things I design, as values possibly shape the space of actions of human beings.
The initial idea for the privacy preserving Kimono was inspired by the thermo-optic camouflage presented in the Anime film, Ghost in the Shell (1995). The reason why the wearable is presented as a Kimono comes from the notion that Kimonos are usually worn on traditional occasions such as a tea ceremony. I like to think that, going to public cafés and taking advantage of the free public Wi-Fi is a kind of ritual or ceremony as well, where you drink your beverage and surf the Internet. The Kimono attempts to update this tea ceremony to today’s modern standards. With the technology of the Kimono fused within, privacy protection is modernising the “ceremony” in context of today’s world.
If we were to bring this Ghost in the Shell camouflage technology into today’s virtual world, what would it look like? A VPN router is used to for the “camouflage” effect when surfing the Internet.
The VPN Router is connected to a sensor board which enables one to establish an encrypted connection via skin contact. The electronics are integrated into a Kimono which further had to be customised with conductive fabrics and threads.
The Kimono probably needs to be communicated as a viable product first, in order to raise a successful awareness:The Kimono still needs to be manually configured, much the same as a smartphone would need to be, for every visit to a public café. Currently, the user needs to find the wifi access point, open their browser and agree to the terms and conditions. One way to develop this project further is to abolish those processes for a more convenient user experience. However, making such processes automatic, may lead to a greater conflict between the values of convenience and privacy. Making a preference, would point in the direction of one particular design and also shape how the user interacts with it. The choice for more convenience would likely lead to a better user experience; ideally the only thing the user would have to do is to put it on within the wifi range of the public café to make the Kimono run on its own. However, in this case, another privacy issue would factor in when considering the terms and conditions the user must agree to. The user authentication process for the terms and conditions would just be blindly accepted by the user, as this process would be automated. In this regard, companies can set up any regulations on those terms and conditions, including regulations that would concern user privacy. For example, companies could authorise themselves to collect, store, and process personal data from users. Companies are aware of the fact that users don’t have access to it nor will users care.