PApTCHA, is a project that formally exists in the design interface of
Google’s reCAPTCHA test. The
content includes unique pieces of language artworks that act as a commentary on the ubiquitous phrases
that online users encounter in the context of digital privacy.
PApTCHA, or: Partially Automated private Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, takes the
design elements from Google’s popular reCAPTCHA test (the Completely Automated Public Turing Test to
tell Computers and Humans Apart) and turns it into a main-menu-meets-landing page for the collection
language artworks featured in the piece. Specifically, viewers visit these pieces by clicking on the
individual squares in the PApTCHA interface. Once inside a page, viewers encounter a term or phrase that
is commonly used in digital privacy contexts online. Some of these include: “accept,” “agree,” “allow,”
“block,” “continue,” “do not sell,” “do not track,” “I understand,” “your presence on this site,” and
“was this information helpful?”
The theoretical foundation for PApTCHA begins with a process of decontextualization into
re-contextualization. By pairing UI terms with their IRL linguistic counterparts, the project engages in
a critique of digital privacy settings. In doing so, PApTCHA aims to expose the ways users opt to forgo
a certain level of privacy in order to visit their preferred sites and to have uninterrupted experiences
online and to undercut the notion that one has agency or choice when “managing” these settings.
Qianxun Chen and Meredith Morran will give a talk about
project at PrivacyWeek.