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Cyber Citizen Tool Shows Which Countries' Laws Cover Our Surfing

By New Scientist

June 15, 2015

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London artist James Bridle wants to bring attention to the way the Internet is making people more international, or even super-national, and he has created a new tool that can determine how much time users spend on different countries' websites and then compute their algorithmic citizenship.

Called Citizen Ex, the tool uses Internet Protocol addresses to map where users are and where each website they visit might be based. Citizen Ex forms a picture of the geographical spread of user browsing over time based on the hosting country of each website visited and the amount of time spent on that site.

Bridle says a person's algorithmic citizenship is important because it can determine the laws people are subject to and how authorities view them. "It's a form of citizenship that's actually being enacted right now," he says. "I wanted to build something that made it visible."

Bridle notes intelligence agencies may consider spying on anyone with sufficiently foreign browsing habits. "The promise of the Internet as an open, free, and borderless place relies on you being able to take advantage of certain tools that enhance your privacy," he says.

From New Scientist
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Abstracts Copyright © 2015 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA

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