This week I had the opportunity to experience the British Science Festival, and present our IMPRINTS work at Newcastle City Library. I wanted to share some of my discussions with visitors, and share some of the more interesting issues that people spoke to me about.
Firstly, the PIN number machine was a great way to spark conversation. Many of the visitors to the stand tried to type in 0000, some tried 1066, and to their surprise, a number of people correctly typed in 1234. They talked about the burden of PIN numbers and passwords, and people told me they find it easiest to use memorable dates such as their wedding anniversary or birthdate. I was most surprised by the willingness of the public to suggest microchips as the best alternative to these IdM problems. People felt it was more convenient, quick, and could be offered to people from birth. These comments echoed some of the feedback I received in our focus groups.
The other feature which really got people talking was the RFID rings and the QR code scarf, made by the Dundee team. People really liked the aesthetics of the objects, but were a little more apprehensive when we talked about their potential uses for IdM. People were scared that they would lose something so important. One man said how much he liked the anonymity of the code before scanning it, and suggested all of his son's school uniform could be designed with a QR code to avoid having to sew namebadges into collars every year.
My most memorable conversation was with a woman who said whilst she loved our exhibition, she was very opposed to any kind of identity control and told me she did anything she could to remain undetected by the government, organsiations and such. She described her annoyance at customer loyalty cards (after reading one of our pop up banners), and explained that whenever a company askes for her information in that context, she provides them with all of her pet dog's details. She told me her dog had recently been offered a credit card.
The exhibition is on display until Thursday 12th Septmber at noon, so get yourself down to the library if you're in Newcastle!