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Interface Design in State Surveillance

Bachelor thesis by Christian Groß

Surveillance-Logo mit dem "allsehenden Auge" und der Aufschrift "All Your Data Belongs to Us""
Organisational Unit:

After the surveillance revelations by Edward Snowden in the summer of 2013, news about the privacy of individuals vis-à-vis the state services came out almost weekly. In the weeks that followed, human rights organisations tried, rather unsuccessfully, to show citizens the precarious situation of their privacy and to sensitise them to the consequences.

With the hypothesis that we are not able to understand the extent and possible consequences of mass surveillance because there are no visual forms for it yet, I started the work.

In the first phase of the editing period, I took a closer look at the possibilities of mass surveillance in order to be able to better classify the published information of the surveillance scandal. Theoretically, I dealt with the surveillance theory of panoptism by Michel Foucault and compared it with the phenomenon of mass surveillance.

On the basis of the facts I worked out, I created a comprehensive information graphic that gives an overview of a part of the published NSA and GCHQ programmes and shows which data and insights the secret services draw from surveillance. With the help of the resulting visualisation forms, I designed a fictitious surveillance software to give the viewers visual impressions of mass surveillance and thus sensitise them to the topic.

Project participants

Project management

Boris Müller

Prof. Boris Müller

Professor für Interaction Design


Christian Great