Mask.ID Part II - We send our passports to Libya
The war is raging in Libya right now. Right-wing policy in Europe is gaining momentum, occupying the secret services and interior ministries. Meanwhile, more and more people are dying in the Mediterranean. The passport is not only an instrument of internal repression, it is the central symbol of exclusion and death at our european external borders.
We were in Libya and asked people about their life realities. We decided to cooperate with artists who are willing to morph with other Europeans and to share their passports. It’s a game of identities, but it’s also a last desperate attempt not to stand idly by and watch. We send you European passports in which half of the artists are recognizable themselves and hope that they can enter Europe with them.
While in 2015 the images of dying people at our borders still shocked us, our powerlessness and right-wing propaganda seems to have blunted us. Governments are tilting one by one to the right. Who will be willing to give up their own privileges in order to preserve our fundamental values and human empathy?
What's happened so far?
In the first part of our play Mask.ID, we hacked the Bundesdruckerei and had a passport printed, in which two people can be identified: the EU Commissioner for foreign affairs and security policy, Federica Mogherini, and a penguin from our team. Now Frederica Mogherini and one of our team members can theoretically travel the world with the same passport.
Our biometric data is unique. They serve as a password, login or travel permit. Every person who applies for a passport or ID card gives fingerprints and facial recognition data, which flow into the state databases. Any database can be hacked – fingerprints and iris scans are already popular commercial goods that are pulled by companies. Those who have access to them can also copy them and deposit them at a crime scene in order to turn uninvolved persons into persecuted persons. But mafiosis are not our biggest problem.
Our own authorities are working flat out to merge existing databases. Where previously strict rules applied, what may happen to our unique features, the purpose is changed under the pretext of fighting crime – and, of course, more and more authorities can access it. So the technological means to monitor and control us are becoming more and more comprehensive. So is the possibility of harming unpleasant critics.
It is time to put an end to this development. To empower us with our data and to shape our identity ourselves. To flood the databases with false information, to avoid automatic recognition, to bring administrators of these databases to our site, and to determine our own data.