Tom Tack

Photographer: Vincent van Gurp


A day does not pass that you do not come across articles in the press that include the following words: Facebook, Flickr, Apps,... and much more. And this is not solely about innovations or the fact that social media are all the rage. Lately, terms such as privacy settings, digital footprints and data mining have frequently appeared on discussion boards. People have been storing and sharing data online for a couple of years without realising the impact it would have. Does this mean people should stop uploading their data? The answer is no. The internet now functions as a data carrier replacing other obsolete carriers. We will just have to adapt our methodologies and processes when dealing with online data. A spontaneous status update will remain forever on your profile and, in the end, you will even forget about it. “Do I really want this status update to be on my profile for the rest of my life”? Most often, the answer is no. How can this be resolved? A possible solution is a tool that erases data when it reaches its expiry date. Many people could link erasing data with viruses. Viruses have always had a negative connotation because of the harm they do to your data. But a virus is actually a computer program. It is a human-controlled digital organism. This means that a living program could also be designed for positive purposes. Imagine a virus that saves all your data that you alone control. Because, in the end, it is all about the control of shared and stored data. This creates a precedent. Virus Design will be a new generation of design that looks into new applications, optimising online information and avoiding digital waste.