Network Anxieties Design Packets

To explore, reimagine, and intervene within network anxieties—for example, distrust, overstimulation, and creepiness associated with digital privacy and surveillance concerns—we have been experimenting with the design of relatively lighter-weight, smaller-scale, shorter-term, and inexpensive forms we refer to as design packets. We have designed these packets to circulate, evolve, and generate design potential and possibility without trying to fully anticipate or articulate their uses or effects. We present three examples from our ongoing design packeting. Our Network Anxieties Coloring Book allow people to both induce and alleviate their concerns with digital objects and events ranging from police Stingray surveillance to Smart Barbie dolls with microphones. Our Ghost/Bug/Wave Detectors locate the curious intersections of paranormal  activity, state surveillance, and harmful electromagnetic radiation, inviting people to participate in collective hunts for ghosts, bugs, and waves. And our Privacy and Data Policies in Print (Because Nobody Actually Reads Them) packet reproduces verbatim the privacy and data policies of 5 major technology companies. In this paper, we emphasize the power of these packets as design catalysts, as forms that vaguely function as the potentials to shift and evolve into other uses, outcomes, ideas, things, and more.