Could a world without privacy be a good thing? Noah Dyer proposes to find out by filming and streaming a year of his life 24/7. Read more
This project's funding goal was not reached on September 1, 2014.
About this project
I’m Noah Dyer and, among other things, I am a political theorist with an interest in privacy.
I’m asking you for $1 so that I can record a year of my life without even 1 second of privacy.
We live in a very interesting time. It’s the time of the Arab Spring, Anonymous, Edward Snowden, and the issues in Ukraine and Palestine, to name a few.
In the United States, people are dissatisfied because Congress can’t get anything done, but they also don’t like it when the President takes unilateral action without authorization from Congress. Sentiments like these are felt throughout the world, and it’s sentiments like these that, when unchecked, ultimately lead to governments collapsing.
My observation is this: in most societies we recognizing the right of people to keep secrets. But really there’s only one purpose for keeping secrets: secrets exist to prevent other people from acting as they would if they had complete information.
I believe that the type of government and society that will persevere while other forms of government fail and are replaced, is a government that does not recognize the right to privacy, but rather says that everyone in a society has the right to perfect information, so that they can act according to their own best interest.
So how does contributing a dollar to this campaign contribute towards the formation of this great society? Well, you hear a lot about privacy activists. Right now the only opposition we hear to that is from Big Data companies and Big Government advocates that want to mine personal data, but keep their conclusions secret.
This campaign will shed the light on a third option: the one in which not only is your information not private, but neither are the government and corporate databases that mine your data. As an anti-privacy activist, I will walk my talk. You will see every minute of my life for a year. You will see every email, every text, every facebook message and any other communication that I receive. You will see my bank account transaction and balances. You will everything I eat and all the exercise I do (or don’t do). You will know how much sleep I get. In short, if I experience it, you will experience it as well.
I certainly recognize that while me doing this may bring the topic to the forefront, my experiences doing this unilaterally are going to be very different than if everyone in society was doing this. For example, it may be hard for me to go to the restroom, because other people in the restroom don’t want to be recorded. I will definitely be taking time to discuss how I think the results I’m having are different than what I’d experience if the political system that I’m trying to bring about through this dialogue was a reality.
Whatever happens, I want to make every minute of footage collected during my year without privacy freely available to everyone on the Internet who is interested. That includes both the live stream and video archives. Your dollar will make that possible.
But maybe I still haven’t given you enough information. You want to know what sorts of things you can expect to see. Here are some examples:
- Maybe you have an interest in learning computer programming. I am a professor of mobile app and game programming at the University of Advancing Technology, and my boss has given me permission to give you access to all of the lectures and workshops that I put on for the students.
- Maybe you have an interest in health and fitness. I have been known to occasionally follow strict diets and aggressive workout routines. If you wanted, you could just follow along with me, you wouldn’t have to plan your own meal and exercise routines.
- Maybe you have an interest in seeing a grown man urinate or defecate. While I hope you will tune out during that portion of the live stream, if you don’t, you will probably be able to see me do that more than 365 times over the course of a year.
- Maybe you are curious about parenting as a single father. While I’m not sure I’m a good example, you will be able to scrutinize every decision I make for a year as it relates to my children.
- You may be interested in seeing me, or women who like me, naked. If you don’t tune out of the live stream, you will definitely get to see my showers. And if anyone is willing to have sex with me while I do this experiment, you will get to see it. Only $1 for a year of homebrew porn!
You may be wondering why I’m trying to raise so much money. As it turns out, it’s a rather large logistical undertaking to provide 24/7 footage with no downtime. In fact, I’ll need a team of about 8 full time people. In addition to capturing the initial footage, this team will also prepare highlight footage, that will play in a window while I’m sleeping. So while you will not miss a second of my life, there will always be something interesting to watch. Remaining money will be used for recording equipment and bandwidth costs.
So if this is a topic you’re interested in, or if you think you might even get just one hour of entertainment out of a year in my life, please donate a dollar. And of course, share this campaign with your friends, and let me know what you think in the comments.
When the project is funded you, along with the rest of the world, will be able to watch the 24/7 live stream of my life at NoahDyer.tv from at least Oct. 20, 2014 at 12:01 a.m through Oct. 19th, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. Longer if we hit stretch goals.
There is only one prize: no T-shirts, no screen savers, no gadgets. Furthermore, when the project is funded, everyone in the world will get the prize, even if they didn't contribute.
I'm only asking for a $1 from you, but of course, you can give more if you're so inclined.
How will you handle censorship for young viewers?
I expect that the feed will have many things that adults and children alike would rather not see. However, I don't believe any segment of the audience will be harmed by seeing anything that I do.
Additionally, my life unfolds rather predictably: before I actually go to the bathroom, there's an indication that it's going to happen. Same with eating, sex, and anything else. If you can't look away, or get the people for whom you're responsible to look away, that's on you.
Are you just selling pornography?
This is much more like a nature documentary. Documenting animal sex isn't "animal porn," it's just animal life. Similarly, it's conceivable, though not guaranteed, that I will have sex during this experiment. Though I made a joke in the video to the contrary, if I do have sex, it will be documented as a matter of fact, not with any specific intention to arouse or otherwise manipulate the viewer.
How long will the delay be between live recording and available footage?
My goal is to have a live stream. Certain challenges, such as described in the risks section below, may result in a less than live feed at times. These delays may only be minutes, or may reach several hours.
I believe that anything over 24 hours is unnecessary even in the most challenging circumstances, and therefore unacceptable.
How is this different from all the reality shows already airing (Big Brother, Kardashians, etc.)?
The fundamental difference is that this will be real ;)
The most misbehaved child, when bribed properly, can be a model of politeness for a few hours. But it's not what that child is really like.
Similarly, current reality TV is set up to make many interactions more dramatic than they actually, but also delete actual drama that occurs when it could be construed as offensive, contrary to sponsor wishes, or would cast the stars in an unacceptable light.
Conversely, it is not my intention to make my life any more or less dramatic than it actually is. In fact, I think it would be nearly impossible to do so consistently for a year with no breaks.
Perhaps even more important a distinction that separates me from existing reality TV: I'm not trying to entertain for entertainments sake. I'm trying to make a point.
What about the privacy of your kids?
My kids don't have anything to hide.
What about the privacy of your students?
There's a law that governs student privacy called FERPA. Understandably, UAT is keen to obey this law. So what I can definitely say is it will be obeyed.
I can also say that I intend to make everything I see and do public.
We've discussed a variety of options, such as having another professor be responsible for grading and any other matters covered by FERPA, leaving me in charge of the actual education only.
I'm confident there's a solution. But if not, I would quit. Simple as that.
If I raise $700,000, I will run for political office in 2016, which will involve the following:
- I will continue the 24/7 live feed uninterrupted through election night 2016 (an extra year and change). As such, you will have access to platform preparation, debate preparation, marketing decisions, donation efforts, etc., etc.
- If I am elected, I will continue the live feed for the duration of my term (2-6 years on top of the extra year during the campaign, depending on what what office I run for).
- Kickstarter does not allow political campaign contributions or charitable donations. As such, I will not use these funds for such purposes, nor should you consider your donation as such. Rather, I will treat donations that reach this level as profit for the production of the live feed. In keeping with the spirit of the experiment, I will publicly disclose how all such funds are spent or invested, even if they are spent outside the official duration of the live feed.
If I reach $1,000,000, I will set up an Anti-privacy Ashram during the year of the experiment. This will be a place where people who agree with my cause can have an experience similar to mine within a supportive community.
Based on $300,000 raised, less 5% to Kickstarter, and approximately 10% to Amazon Payments.
- 8 full time employees on a meager annual salary with no benefits (other than constant association with me) - $230,000
- Cameras, computers, cords, backup batteries, memory cards, tripods, etc., etc. - $15,000
- Hosting and streaming costs - $9,000
My close family and friends have been extremely supportive of this project, if also a little fearful about what it means for them.
Several friends from my extended network have given me feedback that has helped me explain the project better. Special thanks to Ben Powers, Natalia Ronceria Ceballos, Jeff Chabot, Cody Robinson, and Devon Omara.
Aaron Treguboff was invaluable in filming the video and discussing the project in general.
Project image composed of images on flickr by Thomas Ogilvie and Carolina Alves under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license.
Images in the video also under Creative Commons license by the following flickr users: FutureAtlas, greenseefa, John Athayde, The National Guard, Jim Sher on Flickr, Oskar Maria Grande, Juhan Sonin, Seattle Municipal archives, and Katie.
Risks and challenges
The goal of the project is to provide the video feed instantaneously, without delay, 24/7. While I feel quite confident that I can record consistently, there may be some challenges to streaming instantaneously.
Streaming video requires an internet connection, equipment, and power at a minimum. An activity like camping, which I sometimes do, presents a big challenge to having an internet connection and power.
Challenges like these are part of the reason I need a team as large as I do. If I do go camping, the film team could stay in a nearby town and take 2 or 3 shifts. One crew would be filming, while the other crew was resting and charging. Upon being relieved, the crew that had just been filming would upload their footage to the internet and charge their equipment. This system might result in a 12-24 hour delay in the stream.
Alternatively, we might choose to overcome these obstacles with power generators and satellite or cellular internet connection.
Even smaller and more common activities, like going to the store, involve some of the same obstacles listed above.
Whatever comes up, what I can promise is that we'll never stop filming, and we'll thoughtfully approach logistical challenges with an eye towards keeping the spirit of the project.
Beyond logistical challenges, some people have predicted that I will be arrested. If that happens, I likely will not be able to film while incarcerated, though I would certainly try. My staff would endeavor to find other creative ways to keep the feed going during my incarceration.
Upon release, I would immediately begin streaming again, regardless of the likelihood of further arrest or other serious consequences. I hope (and am confident) this experiment won't become one of spending a year or more in jail because our government wants to limit my speech because I just doesn't want to hide anything, but it is a possibility.
Lastly, some people have also observed that I may just get tired of being filmed and either quit completely or somehow cheat the spirit of the experiment. Fortunately, I think there is ample evidence for me undertaking difficult, sometimes ridiculous lifestyle experiments and seeing them to completion.
While none of my prior experiments has directly involved a long term video feed, they do involve such life altering things as shelter, transportation, eating, exercise, etc. When I have a goal and make a commitment, my historical persistence is pretty exemplary, and I assert it will be the same for this experiment.
All told, I think it highly likely that you will receive at least 1 complete year of my life streamed on the internet, with occasional reasonable delays due to technical challenges, but no missing footage overall.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Do you intend to get the permission of others before filming, or blur faces and logos where you haven't received permission?
There's the law, there's decency, and there's what I want to do. They may not always be the same, and right now I'm not 100% confident where they intersect. I can say the following: I do not currently intend to get people's express permission or blur the faces of people that have not consented to be on camera. I do intend to make it abundantly clear that I am filming, and thereby give people an option to be out of frame if they choose.
I'm serious about doing the experiment, and serious that I think a world without privacy would not suffer from many of the ills that our society currently struggles with.
I'm hopeful that funny and otherwise entertaining experiences will come about as a result of the experiment, so in that sense, I could be said to be joking.
At the $300,000 funding level, none of the money raised will be used for any personal expenses. All the funds will be used to
Above $300,000, I would transparently use the money for personal purposes.
Above $700,000, a portion of the funds will be used to fund the Anti-privacy Ashram.
My staffing plan basically is to have 2 people on duty at any given time. 24 hours per day * 7 days per week *2 people per hour / 40 hours per employee per week = 8.4 employees. I rounded down to 8.
At different times this might mean: 2 cameramen, a cameraman and sound person, a cameraman and someone handling other project logistics, 1 cameraman and someone uploading footage or editing highlight footage to play during my sleeping hours, etc.
- (30 days)