Trace-A Marketplace for Stolen Identities

This project came about from research regarding the Equifax data breach. Not only did I want to know how this had happened, I wanted to know where the stolen data was and how it was being used. I decided to propose a premium market place in which the stolen identities were traded, both as a way to highlight the fact that this information is now widely available and to shame equifax for their negligence. My goal was to develop a javascript program that would take personal information, such as drivers licenses numbers and social security numbers and to transform this data into a secure digital fingerprint that could be used to represent the identities for sale.

Inspiration and Sketches

Inspired by the work of Marian Bantjes, I set about designing a three by three grid system which would form the basis of my digital fingerprint. Each square in the grid gets a number which is generated from combining pieces of personal data. These number then indicate a shape, thus creating a dynamic, secure and responsive visual representation of the stolen identities.


The final form of the digital fingerprint takes shape as I develop the code to transform personal data into a system of numbers that can be interpreted as shapes. There are two layers, each coming from a different set of numbers generated from the data. Separating the layers into two colors, it becomes clear how the fingerprint is formed. Using a 30 person data set, I test the viability of the program to generate unique and visually compelling digital fingerprints.

Mock Ups

With my data set, I mock up what a marketplace for stolen identities might look like. I anticipate its functions and develop a visual identity based on the contradictory messages such a site must embody: a secure and trustworthy source that sells stolen data.