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The art of texting, Prism-style

Whatever the National Security Agency is doing with with my cell phone records, it's probably not this.

Bay Gross ’13, a recent Yale computer science grad, has designed an app that takes your text message metadata—not the texts themselves, but the who and when—and turns it into a colorful graph. "Part data, part art," he writes: "an immersive and emotional graphical experience."

Gross calls the app Prism, after the formerly secret NSA metadata collection program that Edward Snowden revealed to the world. Of his Prism, he writes: "It allows you to explore your closest relationships, as well as your relationship with technology, in a way that is both meaningful, and fun."

"Meaningful" is in the eye of the beholder. Gross tells the IDG News Service that, analytically speaking, his Prism graphs are "kind of useless," with a y-axis that's "completely made up."

But at least it's secure, he maintains: "we only extract the meta information on who and when you were texting, and nothing is ever saved or transmitted beyond your session."

Filed under Bay Gross, texting, NSA
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