Fueled by fear in the post-9/11 United States, American intelligence agencies conduct dragnet data collection on global communication. Despite the intention of surveillance as preventative counter-terrorism action, the default search and seizure of global communication poses a threat to our constitutional rights and individual autonomy. This is the case especially for people who may be thought of as in opposition to our current political climate, such as immigrants, people of color, women, people practicing non-western religions, people living outside of the United States, activists, persons engaging in political dissent, and people with intersecting identities. Throughout the Fall and Spring semesters, I have done research, conducted visual experiments and designed exploratory projects in order to more thoroughly identify the issue and explore the ways in which visual communication design can aid in the conversation surrounding global surveillance. It was the intention of my fourth year social issue projects to explore the role of visual communication design in the dialogue surrounding surveillance, principally focusing on the responsibility visual communication design has in spreading ideas about how to globally subvert surveillance until governments disclose information about their unconstitutional actions or until whistleblowers do it for them. My final project, the fourth year social issue exhibit, focuses on how improving our personal password habits can help us gain agency in digital spaces. Using the randomness of rolling a dice to generate entropy can help us generate stronger passwords in order to secure sensitive information online. Using design as a method of communication, my fourth year social issue exhibit shared information about how encrypted passwords can act as the first line of defense in protecting ourselves from invasive data collection and malicious internet activity.
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