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Habitele: wearable digital identities

How do we inhabit our personal data ecosystem ?

The project aims to test a theoretical framework labelled “Habitele” by Dominique Boullier. This neologism seeks to account for the anthropological transformation we are experiencing, as two thirds of human beings have become equipped with a mobile phone.

Research

Description

We inhabit a new “personal data ecosystem”, which we call “Habitele”. Habitele is used to label the various distant connections with various social worlds that we are able to handle by carrying devices (phone, credit cards, IDs, keys and access cards) and traces (social networks and other online activities) that keep us in touch with these worlds. Henceforth, the mobile phone is rapidly merging all these affiliations, traces and access into one device, which is carried close to the body. IDs in the cloud and permanent bodily access are what make the mobile phone a universal terminal (and not the PC): our digital identities become wearable, as a new envelope.

Objectives

  • To lead a carefully designed empirical investigation: indepth interviews (500 x 2), 45 case studies of typical use, data collection of personal behaviour (through automated extraction from the device), and mapping of connected social worlds.
  • To undertake an international comparison involving France, UK, USA, Canada, Brazil, Tunisia, Nigeria, India, Korea. On the telcos and providers’ end, we will design a sociological experiment to test the propagation of (fake) personal data in violation of contractual limitations.

This project was recognised by the National Research Agency (ANR) and get a special grant under the call “Sociétés Innovantes”.