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Impact Plan: Porton Down

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This impact plan provides a media strategy for the virtual reality (VR) game Porton Down.

Based on the life of ex-serviceman Don Webb and created by Collum Cooper and Constance Nuttall, Porton Down gives viewers an embodied experience of being the subject of hallucinogen experiments at the Porton Down military facility in Great Britain.

Funded by the Mozilla Foundation through the generous support of the Open Society Foundation and under the auspices of Harmony Labs, this plan provided Callum and Constance with a strategy for using their game to make viewers challenge current data norms around privacy and collection of personal information. It is shared here with the consent of its creators.

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Impact Plan: Porton Down

  1. 1. IMPACT PLAN : PORTON DOWN Mozilla Stories of Surveillance | 2017-2018 by Mary Joyce HARMONY LABS 311 W 43rd St, 12th floor New York, NY 10036 +1 212 966 7606 info@harmonylabs.org harmonylabs.org UPDATED VERSION July 11, 2018 // v2.2
  2. 2. CONTENTS BEGIN Problem Statement…………………………………………………..………………..……………..……………….…3 About Porton Down…............................……………………..……………………………..……….………..…4 STRATEGY Objectives.……………………………………………………………………………………………………….…………..6 Audience….………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..…7 Theory of Change…………………………………………………………………..…………………………………....8 EVALUATION Performing Evaluation ……………………………………................……………………………………………...10 Objective and Key Results: Live Experience………………………………....………………………………..11 Objective and Key Results: Online Experience…………………………………………………………….....12 Timeline……………………….............………………………………………………………………………………....…13 APPENDIX Ongoing Support……………………………………………………………………………………………………….....15 Example Survey Questions………………………………………………………………………………………....…16 Audience Journey……………………………………………………………………………………………………….…17 Glossary …………………………………………………………………………….…………..…..…………………….….18
  3. 3. Early adopters of virtual reality (VR) have become guinea pigs, only vaguely aware of personal data capture and cognitive manipulation.
  4. 4. 4 PORTON DOWN is a hand- drawn VR game by Callum Cooper and Constance Nuttall that creates an embodied experience of these dangers. In it, viewers enter the experience of Don Webb, an ex- serviceman who was the unwitting subject of hallucinogen experiments at the Porton Down scientific facility.
  5. 5. STRATEGY
  6. 6. The viewer becomes CONCERNED and DISCOMFORTED by the idea of personal data collection as a result of watching Porton Down. OBJECTIVE 6
  7. 7. • SURVIELLANCE NEWBIES who have never given a thought to personal data collection and its negative implications. They are drawn to the experience for its surreal and “trippy” qualities, not because they are interested in surveillance as a policy issue. AUDIENCE 7
  8. 8. 4. Forced Interactivity 3. Forced First Person 2. Don’s Story Begins 1. Context-Setting THEORY OF CHANGE * 5. Personal Data Revealed 7. Initial Reality Distortion w/ Context Don Webb begins telling the story in a familiar interior space. (0:07) Viewer enters Don’s story, but still as an observer. (0:25) Viewer is now the research subject. Like Don, they did not volunteer for this. Perspective changes to first person without consent. (1:24) The viewer is directed to take actions by a dismebodied voice, again without consent or explanation. (1:31) The viewer understands that the examination is real. They are actually communicating with the voice. They hear information about themselves reported. (1:44) Don’s narration restarts and the observer perspective returns, pulling the viewer out of the emotional intensity of examination. Disbelief suspension ends. Viewer is again simply in an immersive documentary. (3:12) Interest DESCRIPTION This model shows the phases the viewer passes through in the Porton Down experience to arrive at the desired impact objective of “concern and discomfort.” Steps of this process are in orange, emotional responses bolded. (Time stamps) are in parentheses for reference. 8 6. Don’s Story Continues 8. Examination Continues 9. Reality Distortion Intensifies 11. Reminder of Data Collection Subtle Discomfort and Concern Increased Discomfort and Concern Peak Discomfort and Concern Relief Subtle Discomfort Curiosity 10. Don’s Story Ends Wonder with Discomfort Concern Because the cut-scene explains ripples as a hallucination, there is no concern. Viewer sees distortion as part of the experience, rather than doubting themselves. (5:15) Now that the odd sensations have been explained, the viewer can relax and engage with them comfortably. (5:39) Free from concern, the intensified halluncinations are fun and beautiful. Viewer may experience some physical discomfort/queasiness. (7:32) Interest Viewer learns how Don’s story ends. (8:24) Viewer sees their subject ID #. (9:48) At the end the viewer is concerned, but not discomforted. At this moment, the impact objective is most strongly achieved, Interest * Defined in Glossary
  9. 9. EVALUATION
  10. 10. PERFORMING EVALUATION 10 MEASURING IN TRANSMEDIA At Sheffield Doc/Fest, Callum and Constance plan to evaluate the effect of Porton Down on viewers through a paper survey collected by confederates dressed in lab coats (see examples below). This method extends the experimentation theme of Porton Down, making evaluation part of the experience rather than fully separate from it. Following standard evaluation methods, the confederates will ask viewers the same set of questions before and after the experience to assess Porton Down’s effect through comparison of pre-viewing and post-viewing data. The questions may be in formatted in the oddly personal language of the experience for consistency and to acknowledge that evaluation itself has problematic data capture elements. It is also recommended that the evaluation questions be combined with deliberately erroneous questions so the pre-experience survey does not act as a “spoiler” for the experience. In addition to these live evaluations, once the exeriences is loaded on the Steam platform in Septemer, Callum and Constance will use gaze- tracking of the end-of-experience data sheet (see p. 12) and user comments to assess reponses to the experience online.
  11. 11. PRE- AND POST- SURVEYS Porton Down’s objective is to make the viewer concerned and discomforted by the idea of personal data collection. In order to measure those emotional changes with greater specificity, we suggest creating metrics based on the following changes** in the viewer. These changes are the key results of viewing Porton Down. • KNOWLEDGE Create awareness in the viewer of the capacity of modern technology to collect personal data without our knowlege or consent. • FAVORABILITY Alter the opinion of the viewer such that they not only understand that personal data collection happens, but also believe it is undesirable/wrong. • SALIENCE Alter the opinion of the viewer such that they leave the experience thinking that the undesirability/wrongness of personal data collection is an important issue. Example survey questions are listed in the Appendix. 11 **These objectives are adapted from a list of persusation campaign effects in: Atkin, C. K., & Freimuth, V. (2013). Guidelines for Formative Evaluation Research in Campaign Design . In R. E. Rice & C. K. Atkin (Authors), Public Communication Campaigns (pp. 53-68). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. OBJECTIVES* AND KEY RESULTS* (OKR) Live Experience (Sheffield Doc/Fest) * Defined in Glossary
  12. 12. GAZE-TRACKING AND COMMENTS Evaluation will look a little different online. In the absence of an easy way to survey online viewers, Callum and Constance will use gaze tracking and comments to evaluate the experiences effect on users. • KNOWLEDGE and FAVORABILITY Both of these changes will be assessed by analysis of comments left by users. For example, “This sh*t is not right.” is unfavorable and “Wow, I had no idea!” would indicate an increase in knowledge. Importantly, because this method uses naturally occuring data (rather than a custom survey), some comments may not be easily intepretable. For example, “Wow, this was freaky!” gives no definitive information as to whether the viewer learned anything or changed their mind on the desirability of data capture. 12 OBJECTIVES AND KEY RESULTS Online Experience (Steam) • SALIENCE Gaze tracking on the end-of-experience data sheet (right) will be used as a proxy of salience, where more time spent looking at an area of the sheet = greater interest. It is important to note that time spent is not a proxy for favorability/unfavorablity. A viewer could look at the data sheet because they think it is cool, rather than because they think it is disturbing.
  13. 13. Sheffield Doc/Fest Analysis of Sheffield Data Release on Steam Performance-integrated viewer surveys implemented for the first time. Callum, Constance, and Mary analyze survey responses using qualitative content analysis methods. Callum and Constance submit Sheffield results to Brett. 13 Sheffield Evaluations to Mozilla Analysis of Steam Data June 7-12 Porton Down is available to viewers online. Callum, Constance, and Mary analyze gaze tracking and comments using qualitative methods. TIMELINE mid to late June end of June September Steam Evaluations to Mozilla Callum and Constance submit Steam results to Brett. Late November December
  14. 14. APPENDIX
  15. 15. ONGOING SUPPORT 15 ANALYSIS OF EVALUATION DATA Based on the preceding evaluation system, Harmony Labs proposes the following support for Callum and Constance from mid-March through December of 2018: • Strategic Advising: Mary Joyce • Plan review and revision • One (1) to two (2) video or phone meetings with Callum and Constance following by one (1) new plan iteration. • Results Interpretation: Mary Joyce • Qualitative data analysis • Review and analysis of Sheffield Doc/Fest survey results in mid to late June • Review and analysis of Steam comments in December
  16. 16. EXAMPLE SURVEY QUESTIONS 16 FOR USE AT SHEFFIELD DOC/FEST Key results are translated into KPIs* below. These questions are to be asked in survey format by project conferates both before and after the viewer watches Porton Down so the the answers can be compared to determine the experience’s effect. • KNOWLEDGE: 1 to 2 questions, such as: 1. Are you a private person? (Y/N) 2. How frequently did your parents hold your hand when crossing the street? (open answer) 3. How much could your phone tell me about you if I asked it? (scale of 1/nothing - 5/a lot) 4. Are you answering my questions more or less honestly because I am wearing a lab coat? (more/ less) • SALIENCE: 1 to 2 questions, such as: 1. Is it important for a person to tell the truth about themselves? (Y/N) 2. How interested are you in receiving a report of your experience at Porton Down? (scale of 1/not at all - 5/very) 3. When is the last time you deleted your browser history? (length of time) • FAVORABILITY: 1 to 2 questions, such as: 1. Please use three (3) adjectives to describe your feelings about scientific research. (open answer) 2. May we retain a copy of your results at Porton Down for research purposes? (Y/N) 3. May we retain a copy of your answers to these questions for project evaluation purposes? (Y/N) Erroneous question * Defined in Glossary
  17. 17. Key Pleasure (relief, wonder, etc.) Displeasure (concern, discomfort) 17 AUDIENCE JOURNEY Interest Subtle Discomfort and Concern Increased Discomfort and Concern Peak Discomfort and Concern Relief Subtle Discomfort Curiosity Wonder with Discomfort Concern Forced Interactivity (1:31) Forced First Person (1:24) Watching the Past (0:25) Context- Setting (0:07) Personal Data Revealed (1:44) Initial Reality Distortion w/ Context (5:15) Watching the Past (3:12) Examination Continues (5:39) Reality Distortion Intensifies (8:24) 11. Reminder of Data Collection 10. Watching the Past Interest Interest DESCRIPTION This diagram represents a rough subjective schematic of the emotional trajectory of a viewer while watching Porton Down. The height of each columns indicates emotional intensity, while the colors indicate favorability (whether that emotion is pleasing or displeasing). At this moment, the impact objective is most strongly achieved,
  18. 18. GLOSSARY 18 Audience The individuals one seeks to persuade or mobilize through exposure to a piece of media. Favorability Extent to which an individual approves or disapproves of the subject of the piece of media. Impact Change resulting from human action or artifact (i.e., of a decision, of a campaign, of a film). Knowledge Facts or information known by an individual about a topic. KPI Acronym for key performance indicator, a type of metric that allows an individual to track progress toward a goal while a campaign or project is ongoing. Objective Ultimate goal or desired result of action. OKR Acronym for objective, key result, shorthand for a goal (the objective) and the concrete outcomes (key results) necessary to achieve it. (i.e., O = get into a selective college; KR: get SAT score above 1300.) Metric A numeric measurement (ideally including both numerator and denominator) that allows an individual to make decisions to improve project performance, particularly while the project is ongoing (i.e., sign-ups per thousand page views; RSVPs per hundred invitations). Salience Importance of a topic to an individual. Theory of Change High-level impact roadmap whose dependencies lead from the present to the realization of a future change objective.
  19. 19. 19 ABOUT THIS IMPACT PLAN This plan was co-created by Callum Cooper and Constance Nuttall for Porton Down and Mary Joyce for Harmony Labs. STORIES OF SURVEILLANCE Stories of Surveillance is a Mozilla program, produced in partnership with the Open Society Foundation and MIT Open Documentary Lab. It supports the work of media activists creating work that challenges surveillance culture. MOZILLA FOUNDATION Dedicated to promoting openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web, the Mozilla Foundation is a California not-for-profit corporation dedicated to the public benefit. HARMONY LABS Based in New York City, Harmony Labs is on a mission to understand media influence at scale, and to experiment with media to support an open, resilient, democratic society.
  20. 20. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE Please direct questions to mary@harmonylabs.org. All images courtesy of Callum Cooper and Constance Nuttall

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