A couple of months ago I attended an event at Melbourne Uni run by privacy advocates from both Sydney and Melbourne. SnitchHunt is game created by privacy expert Gabor Szathmari of CryptoParty Sydney to teach people about the data that is collected from us each time we call, email, text or browse the web.
The event generated a couple of media stories and having spent years educating my son via games before he began studying university courses at twelve, I was very impressed with Gabor’s game. I was interested to hear that he could not keep the game up throughout the year because the database that searched the data in order to solve the challenges in the game required such complexity that it proved very costly to host.
Having created many projects using open datasets in the past without prohibitive I was hopeful I could create a version of the game that could be hosted at minimal cost. I also wanted to add some extra features and information. My current version is at https://whistleblower.network/snitch/index.php
One of the features I wanted to add was more extensive hints to make the game a bit easier for a wider group of people. I’m aiming to make it solvable in within an hour or thereabouts, so I’ve included hints but for those who use them, they lose half the points for that challenge.
The game is popular with academics, two having contacted me via Twitter to mention their enthusiasm for the game, including a request to use the game with students at a local university.
— Brenda Moon (@brendam) February 11, 2017
I want to make the game useful to as wide a range of people as possible so a lot of the features I’m adding are to make it more user-friendly.
Having put quite a bit of work into the site over the past weeks, the game is now ready for some user testing. The Free Software Melbourne Group has kindly dedicated one evening this week for me to host the game and observe how people find it to play. This testing night is not about looking at the code but about people using the game. I am interested in how easy people find my version to play (or how hard) and what improvements it may need. I’ll also be noting how my small server copes with any load.
You can read Ben Minerds’ write up of the event at Free Software Australia and if you can make it along to the meetup in North Melbourne please RSVP. I’m only looking for a small group so that I can focus on what is going on so numbers are limited to 15. You can play along online of course- just register a team name and begin the Challenges. There are seven. Some are more difficult than others and this is reflected in the points they attract.
SnitchHunt brings people face to face with the data we create every time we take a digital action. SnitchHunt is quite a confronting experience in the end and provides a very useful lesson in the evidence we leave behind us of our every action and the ways in which it can be pieced together to form a picture of our actions.