Data Dealer is an online game about collecting and selling personal data - full of irony and gleeful sarcasm. In Data Dealer players take on the role of unscrupulous "data dealers", collect personal data all over the internet, and learn how to turn this information into cash. They run all kinds of companies and online ventures - from dating sites and mobile apps to search engines and their own social web. On the way to becoming the world's most powerful data tycoon, they obtain data from a variety of sources – whether legal or illegal - and ruthlessly sell it to insurance companies, human resources departments or governmental agencies. Their growing data empires have to be defended against hackers, complaining citizens, critical media and pesky privacy activists.
The quantity and the value of the many different types of personal data being collected today is vast: from our profiles and demographic data from bank accounts to medical records to employment data. Our Web searches, the sites we visited, our likes and dislikes and purchase histories. Our tweets, texts, emails, phone calls and photos as well as the coordinates of our real-world locations. State-of-the-art data mining technologies help to analyze and combine these massive amounts of personal data, emerging businesses in social media and mobile applications increasingly make commercial use of the collected data. While popular self-tracking services attempt to sell their tools to health insurance companies, leading old school data brokers try to link their millions of detailed personal profiles with social content. According to former European Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva “personal data is the new oil of the Internet and the new currency of the digital world.” Today’s everyday services relying on aggregated data are becoming more and more complex - even if they look simple on the surface. When we use information technology today it's more difficult than ever to estimate what the long-term consequences might be. Most people have insufficient knowledge about what may happen to their personal data when using smartphones or the internet. This leads to fear, uncertainty and a “decline in trust”, as the World Economic Forum stated in its report Rethinking Personal Data (2012).