Use Actual Surveillance In This Promotion For a Video Game About Surveillance

The forthcoming video game Watch_Dogs lets you be a hacker who can access a city’s network of data, but a website created to promote the game lets you do the real thing.

People demonstrated . . . concern. . . . when Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA was spying on millions of Americans. Of course, what many of those same people don’t realize is how much they’re already being watched and how much data about them is already available publicly. A website made to promote a timely new video game allows you to monitor some of that data on an interactive map.

WeareData is a "hyper connected" website created by agency BETC Paris for the launch of Ubisoft’s forthcoming game Watch_Dogs. In the game, users play as a hacker on the run who accesses public information to manipulate the movable parts that make an entire city work. WeareData may not allow you to control traffic lights if you lack the proper masterful hacking skills, but it will allow you to see them.

Camden, London

The site gives users access to real-time data in three cities: Paris, London, and Berlin. Much of the information glimpsed in Watch_Dogs is readily available here—traffic lights, security cameras, public transportation, and mobile-phone networks are all viewable in real time, as are geolocated Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter updates. You can either search for specific places on the map or search for specific data within it. You can even connect to Facebook and see what other people are using the site to do. It’s an ominous examination of transparency and surveillance that couldn’t be more timely.

Watch a behind-the-scenes film about the game below.

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