Today much of our money rides the rails of information and communications technologies, over computers, tablets, smart phones, wearables and the Internet of things. Mobile network operators, Internet service providers and social media platforms are becoming de facto banks, moving from controlling the flow of information to controlling the flow of value. Airmiles, phone credit, personal data, Fitbit units, friend requests, social media posts, hashtags, hash functions and loyalty points are all becoming currencies of a sort. The implications of this shift are not only new money-like things, but also new points of control over money.
Most of our transactions now happen in online spaces where data about what we buy or who we send our money to is automatically registered alongside other data about our identity, location, likes and dislikes and social networks. Data about what you buy and who you transact with, how you behave in your favourite store, what you put in your shopping basket, what you share online and who your friends are, is used to sell products and to advertise services, but more and more it is also used to make crucial decisions about who gets access to credit, who gets a visa, who is considered a god citizen or a security threat and even who gets enhanced visibility on a dating site. So what is your money saying about you? How might your spending habits or those of your friends affect your credit rating in the future? And what tactics, from cryptocurrencies to data obfuscation to plain old cash are available to disrupt data surveillance?