Soundbeam: A Platform for Sonyfing Web Tracking

Hutchins, Charles and Ballweg, Holger and Knotts, Shelly and Hummel, Jonas and Roberts, Antonio

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

Government spying on internet traffic has seemingly become ubiquitous. Not to be left out, the private sector tracks our online footprint via our ISP or with a little help from facebook. Web services, such as advertisement servers and Google track our progress as we surf the net and click on links. The Mozilla plugin, Lightbeam (formerly Collusion), shows the user a visual map of every site a surfer sends data to. A interconnected web of advertisers and other (otherwise) invisible data-gatherers quickly builds during normal usage. We propose modifying this plugin so that as the graph builds, its state is broadcast visa OSC. Members of BiLE will receive and interpret those OSC messages in SuperCollider and PD. We will act as a translational object in a process of live-sonification. The collected data is the material with which we will develop a set of music tracks based on patterns we may discover. The findings of our data collection and the developed music will be presented in the form of an audiovisual live performance. Snippets of collected text and URLs will both form the basis of our audio interpretation, but also be projected on to a screen, so an audience can voyeuristically experience the actions taken on their behalf by governments and advertisers. After the concert, all of the scripts and documentation related to the data collection and sharing in the piece will be posted to github under a GPL license.