Now that any and every modicum of privacy on the Internet seems to have vanished, we might as well start spying on ourselves, right? So if you want to get a leg up on the NSA, a new project from MIT's Media lab will help get you started.
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Developed by Cesar Hidalgo, Daniel Smilknov and Deepak Jagdish, Immersion is a new online platform that asks permission to access your Gmail account. Once you voluntarily submit your address and password, every email in your account is scanned and metadata is collected to create a portrait of your network. What evolves is a map of interconnected lines and color-coded circles of various size that show how closely related your 100 most-contacted people are in your mailbox.
The project does not access the subject or body of emails, only the From, To, Cc and Timestamp fields. And don't worry, it has a kill switch. Upon logging out of Immersion, users are given a choice to save or delete data.
But why would anyone willingly submit to this invasion of privacy? According to Immersion's website, there are four answers.