L E A V I N G | T R A C E S

L i n k i n g | T h e | U n k n o w n

GarbagePark was a pioneering and groundbreaking 'online privacy awareness' project, created bij Erik Schoppen, and first published on the internet in 1996. The concept of the website was as simple as effective, people that visited the site left traces (digital garbage) behind in a virtual web park. The traces of their online behavior were visible for every other visitor. But, when viewing information of another user, an email was sent to that person with their own trace information. Although the website was ment to run for two years, after only 5 days the site had to be put offline trough overwhelming e-mail traffic, and the experiment had to be stopped.

Concept and design: Erik Schoppen. Key-programming: Peter Sloots.

GarbagePark showed a profile page with all the information about the user to others, gathered and stored over time
(a proto-profile and timeline page, as used in social media many years later - like Facebook or Twitter)

GarbagePark had - as far as we know - also the first single buttoned web-interface in the world.
The webpage was the first datingsite with only a bee and a flower. The engine behind the page was
mixing and matching people based on their traces available on the internet.

Garbage Park had also the quietest place on the Net. A webpage which could be visited by only one visitor at the time. This meant that it was really possible to take up virtual space in the park. Other visitors could see who was occupying the page, and for how long.

More predictions were made in the project... Which have become reality pretty accurately.

Communities as 'attracting networks' where more than one digital identity of you is present in cyberspace.
Places where visitors physical body does not exist within it, but only its actions are manifest. Your presents can be found in more places at the same time, only sometimes you don't know. You are at that moment a representation of the virtual you.
In 2006 (10 years later) the first (re)tweet was placed on twitter.com.

Communities as 'attracting networks' where your network starts acting 'for you' sending personal information of you to others.
You are related with other visitors by leaving information you generate. These traces you leave behind are 'attracting tracks' for other users. By connecting you to other people with similar behavior (this is what we can call the attracting network), communities can gather aggregated data that predict your future preferences and behavior. This behavioral data is collected and shared/sold to other (commercial) parties.
In 2002 (6 years later)Linkedin.com and Facebook.com were founded.

For more information about the project or keynote lectures, please visit Erik Schoppen

...regardless of how any information is obtained, a great deal of personally identifiable information
is revealed in the normal course of surfing the web. Although it may not seem like it,
someone can follow you through cyberspace. every time you retrieve a file, view an image,
send an e-mail message or jump to a new web site, a record can be created somewhere on the Net...

...welcome to Garbage Park...