Donald Trump is for sale.
On Feb. 20, an anonymous group of activists called “EARNE$T” is holding an auction in New York. They’re selling a range of objects they furtively salvaged from the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2018. These objects include used eating utensils, napkins, glasses, cigarette stubs and strands of hair. While such objects obviously don’t give buyers access to Donald Trump himself, they’ll provide access to his DNA and ‘genetic secrets,’ as well as the secrets of other Davos 2018 attendees.
Or so the members of EARNE$T claim. The anonymous group says its holding the auction to create awareness of “surveillance capitalism.” They want to warn the public that the likes of Google and Facebook are intent on harvesting as much of our personal data as possible.
As with every other year, Davos in 2018 hosted a who’s who of the elite. Donald Trump was one attendee, as he was this year. But so too was George Soros, Jack Ma, Queen Rania of Jordan, Angela Merkel and Elton John.
Currently, EARNE$T isn’t directly linking any of these guests to specific items available in its auction. However, it claims there’s a chance buyers really could end up with Donald Trump’s DNA.
For example, hair samples were taken before, during and after President Trump’s address in the plenary hall and lounge outside. There is always a chance we snagged Donald, but it’s a slim chance.
Regardless, the group says the DNA samples contained in or on each item will enable buyers to identify the individual who used it.
While the collected specimens are offered at a class-level identity resolution, the option to achieve individual-level resolution is available to end-users.
Such “resolution” comes at a price. The items in “The Davos Collection” have estimated guide prices ranging from $1,000 to $65,000. Still, EARNE$T boasts that the available items effectively grant buyers the ability to know everything about the individuals who used them.
Users will gain key insights into Davos attendees, including a participant’s potential physical and mental ailments or gifts, ancestry, records of diet and medications, substance abuse and exposure to environmental factors.
EARNE$T admits that “the expectation of privacy may be a legal concern with certain items.” In other words, it could get itself into trouble by auctioning what may be Donald Trump’s genetic material.
But it believes that the intimate knowledge offered by the collected items is worth the legal danger.
The Davos Collection offers exciting new layers of certainty to data surveillance firms, data brokers and private collectors.
Here, the group is referring to the tendency of “surveillance capitalist” firms to maximize the volume of personal data they collect. The more data Google and Facebook have, the more accurate their ads are. And if EARNE$T is to be believed, their hunger for data is insatiable. So insatiable they’d try to take genetic information from us if they could get away with it.
This is why the group is holding the auction in February. It claims its attendance at Davos will be verified before the auction. So, by selling items potentially used by Donald Trump and other world leaders, it intends to incite “a visceral reaction against Surveillance Capitalism from the elite.” Let’s see just how successful such an incitement is.
Last modified: January 26, 2020 5:26 PM UTC