- "A charming way to educate about privacy protection and user profiles as well as about their implications for internet users"
Die Zeit - Germany´s leading high-profile weekly newspaper
- "Shows how the data mafia works – with humor and expertise"
Computer Bild - Europe´s most sold computer magazine
- "Vienna is home to law student Max Schrems, whose privacy protection lawsuits are putting quite some pressure on the worlds largest social network. But Vienna is also home to a Facebook game which shows the handling of sensible data from a different perspective [...] despite its small budget, the result is a professional-looking game."
20 minuten - Switzerland´s leading free daily newspaper
- "Data Dealer unashamedly borrows from the game mechanics of Farmville or Mafia Wars, pokes fun at the privacy protection paranoia and roasts a whole industry along the way – your only way to survive is to become an insatiable data kraken. [...] The reliably addictive game principles of Farmville and Co. have also been internalised by the creators of Data Dealer, making their online game potential time killer material."
- "A subversive social game"
DRadio Wissen - National German radio broadcaster
- "Criticism through imitation"
NZZ - Switzerland´s leading high-profile newspaper
- "In perfect culture jamming style, a small group out of the Viennese net culture scene has within the past year developed an impressively professional Facebook game. [...] Another remarkable aspect is the technical and licensing side of the game, which exclusively uses HTML5 and SVG over the proprietary "Flash" and is licensed under Creative Commons – using the Wikipedia-compatible BY-SA license."
netzpolitik.org - the biggest German net/tech politics blog
- "A more topical kind of Farmville [...] If these four people from Vienna should [...] really offer the game in an English version as planned, it might be interesting to see how Facebook will react to this rather obvious criticism."
heise.de / Telepolis
- "A perfect example of this genre of games"
- "A new approach of educating about privacy protection!"
- "Data Dealer pokes fun at the data collection frenzy of Facebook, Google & Co. [...] The game is saturated with irony, anyone interested in the economy of the online data trade should definitely risk a look."
PC Games - one of the most important German gaming magazines
Data Dealer, the gleefully sarcastic game about data privacy
"Privacy? Screw that. Turn the tables! Become a data dealer and get all the dirty details on your friends, neighbors and the rest of the world. Learn how to trick your users and make cash out of their personal info! Legal? Illegal? Whatever."
Data Dealer is an online game about collecting and selling personal data - full of irony and gleeful sarcasm. It´s a browser/serious/edu/impact game about digital culture and surveillance and aims to raise awareness about online privacy in a new and fun way. The English version was released in May 2013. Let's call it a bastard offspring of certain shiny 2010 Facebook Games and the 1990 TV simulation game Mad TV, reborn with the souls of South Park and Bruce Schneier. And it´s also available on Facebook! Oh, the irony.
In today´s digital age virtually everything we do is recorded, monitored or tracked in some way: Data Dealer is a unique interactive exploration of this personal data ecosystem.
In Data Dealer players take on the role of unscrupulous "data dealers", collect personal data all over the internet, and learn how to turn this information into cash. They run all kinds of companies and online ventures - from dating sites and mobile apps to search engines and their own social web. On the way to becoming the world's most powerful data tycoon, they obtain data from a variety of sources – whether legal or illegal - and ruthlessly sell it to insurance companies, human resources departments or governmental agencies. Their growing data empires have to be defended against hackers, complaining citizens, critical media and pesky privacy activists.
Data Dealer is a nonprofit project and licensed under Creative Commons. It has been created by a small group of developers, game designers and digital rights activists mainly from Vienna, Austria.
Some nice quotes:
"An online game that explores the personal data ecosystem on the Internet"
New York Times
"The most amusing way to learn the depressing news about your vanishing privacy"
"Lets you 'play god' with personal data"
Mashable (nice video included!)
Cory Doctorow on Boingboing
"A game that plays with private information"
The New Yorker
"Play the part of a nefarious data dealer and see our privacy-free future up close [...] In this new award-winning game, you can see what it’s like to try to grab and monetize people’s private data"
"learn about how [your] own information is collected and commodified along the way"
"Spreads awareness about how some companies gather personal data and why others want to purchase it"
"Puts players in the perspective of some of the most powerful and ubiquitous tech companies at the center of our current cultural and technological anxieties"
"Don’t miss the game’s Tracebook — er, Facebook page"
"This game is just like real life!"
"The characters are colourful and amusing. But the scary bit is the message behind the game."
Sydney Morning Herald
"This light-hearted game uncovers the darker side of online registration pages and forms we come across everyday"
Times of India
"Will this game be successful in educating people about how data is used? Almost definitely"
International Association of Privacy Professionals
"Offers up privacy awareness in great gaming style"
Lee Munson, Security-FAQs
"Mixes gameplay about surveillance, personal data and privacy with some witty humor and some mild mockery of the world's biggest online destinations"
History & Status
We've been working hard for the last two years, and the full-featured multiplayer version of Data Dealer is already 80% finished. However, we decided to go international and let users participate in the games’s further development! That´s why we released the English-language version of our playable demo in May 2013.
The German demo release...
...in 2012 was a big success. We´ve been covered in all the major high-profile newspapers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Beyond that, Data Dealer was part of the Out of Control exhibition in the famous Ars Electronica Center (Linz, Austria) and has received several awards, including: Jury Prize at the Austrian National Multimedia Award 2013, Educational Interactive Award 2012 ("Pädi", one of three important German e-learning awards). Data Dealer is a nominee at the Klicksafe Award 2013 (Germany) and won the e-VIRTUOSES Serious Game Award 2013 (France) and the Games for Change Award 2013 (New York City)!
Based on Background Research
Collecting, processing and selling personal data? Privacy in the digital age? Data Dealer is based on lots of research. We´ve compiled a 15 page report (PDF format).
Data Dealer turns privacy abuse into a game...
...and nudges players into contemplating issues like: What kinds of personal data exist? Who is collecting this data and what do they want it for? What do they want to do with it, and what does that mean for me and my future? By switching perspectives and becoming ruthless data dealers, players get a deep look into the motivations and concerns of the modern black-hearted data broker. Data Dealer educates about critical issues in today´s information society – but refrains from preaching on what to watch out for. Data Dealer communicates through contemporary digital popular culture, rather than warning against it. Our goal is to provoke conversations about surveillance, personal data and privacy in the digital age.
Partners & Funding
The previous development was made possible through funding from the Creative Agency of the City of Vienna, the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture, the Internet Foundation Austria (owners of nic.at) - and through the dedicated efforts of the team. The small development team and it´s collaborators from Germany, Switzerland and the US have already invested more than 10.000 hours of work since 2011.
Links & Resources
Press Information, Hi Res Images, Screenshots, Downloads
Press Review: Blogs & Media, Exhibitions, Conferences
Video Trailer und Demo Version
Data Dealer is based on lots of research:
▶ Download PDF ~980kB, 15p.
Wolfie Christl, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone on request.
Data Dealer at TEDxVienna
How to gamify personal data business? Data Dealer´s Wolfie Christl talked about self-tracking tools, health insurance companies, data brokers like Acxiom or Lexis Nexis Risk Solutions, and about the development of "Data Dealer":