Short-term bike renting companies claim to take the protection of your personal data very seriously. However, they make it also very clear that their business is based upon a massive collection of data occurring in the background of your ride.

The following data is collected whenever you use any of their vehicles:

If you allow their app to access your location, they may also collect the precise location of your device when the app is running in the foreground or background. Information about how you interact with their app and services is also collected using cookies that acquire information about the preferences you expressed and the settings you chose. Personal data given while signing the contract is stored for as long as you are customer of that company and may be processed by third-party vendors outside the EU.

From one of their privacy policies: “We process the position data of our bikes in order to develop a statistical model which is able to predict possible future demand and to monitor and analyse usage and activity trends. For such purposes only data without a direct link to a natural person is processed.”

This counterespionage action is an artistic mediation proposal by the Digitalisation Guild at Santa Mònica arts centre, 2023-24. This is part of our research on the value of data and data as a currency. We engage in the research in how our relation to data technologies may be repurposed in order not to foster private economic profit and exploitation, but to explore new approaches to sociality based on free exchange, playfulness and consent.