Faced with the commercialization of data on the Internet, transparency as a response

PARIS: When French artist Albertine Meunier discovered in 2006 that Google was storing her search history, she decided to retaliate by publishing this massive amount of information herself, in the form of books.

“At the time, in 2006, it was difficult to access your own data and, therefore, I did endless copy and paste,” she told AFP in her small gallery, in the center of Paris.

Sixteen years later, this problem no longer exists since Google offers any interested user to download their data and navigation, which the American giant keeps on its servers.

Requesting a copy of this data and receiving it, by email, can take hours or even days, AFP found.

Albertine Meunier has already published three books of her Google research and has just inaugurated an exhibition at the Avant Galerie Vossen in Paris (open until January 14), whose walls she has lined with this research.

The digital artist, in business since 1998, recognizes that the interest in reading this information is low.

“It’s something that is very, very boring. Already because someone’s life is very boring,” she smiles.

His initiative rather seeks to make the visitor think about this endless list of names, websites or postal addresses.

“Often, what we read in the digital (world) is that the data is personal and it is absolutely necessary to guarantee this + private + mode between you and these web services”, insists Albertine Meunier.

“In fact, the value of all these companies is the collection of your own data. If everyone starts putting their data in public mode, little by little, you can destroy the value on which these companies are based. “, she adds.

The fall of NFTs

Albertine Meunier is also a collector of NFTs, these controversial non-fungible certificates attached to digital works of art.

This sector, after a prosperous period, saw its image seriously damaged by the fall of cryptocurrencies and the scandal of the bankruptcy of the FTX platform.

At its peak, in 2021, works could be sold for tens of millions of dollars, such as “Everydays” by the artist Beeple ($69.3 million).

In the third quarter of 2022, on the other hand, it fell by 77% and a net loss of 450 million dollars, the first since its emergence, according to the specialized site NonFungible.

The French artist is not worried about this, however, even if she recognizes that her portfolio of digital works gathered in recent years has lost value.

“Speculation has only benefited a certain class” of artists, she underlines. “But NFT is a form of support” for creators, she continues.

NFTs allow artists to automatically receive a commission each time one of their works is resold.

But, according to NonFungible, resales were down 84% in the second quarter.

“We feel (the fall), of course. But I continue to collect and campaign,” explains Albertine Meunier.

Shaken by the crisis, some NFT platforms, such as LooksRare, have however announced that they will no longer require buyers to return this percentage of resale to creators, sparking protests from artists, mainly in the United States.

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Faced with the commercialization of data on the Internet, transparency as a response


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