NEW YORK, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- A New York artist's "Please Enable Cookies" project offered people actual social media-themed cookies in exchange for sharing personal information, a play on the "cookies" stored in web browsers to track user activity.
Risa Puno said a total 380 people were willing to give up information including addresses, phone numbers and their mother's maiden names in exchange for the cookies, which bore the logos of social media sites Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
"It is crazy what people were willing to give me," Puno told Mashable.
Puno said more than half of the cookie customers were willing to have their pictures taken, while 162 surrendered the last four digits of their Social Security numbers and 117 allowed the artist to take their fingerprints.
Puno said she refused to tell the customers what she planned to do with the information, instead referring them to her posted "terms of service," a full-page document in tiny print that contained a lot of confusing legal jargon.
The project was aimed at seeing how much value people put on the sort of personal information that could lead to online privacy violations. She said even "easy points" questions such as mothers' maiden names, pets' names and birthplaces can lead to breaches.
"They didn't recognize them as security questions, or they didn't care ... but that's how people 'hack' into celebrity iClouds, by guessing their security questions," Puno said of her cookie customers.
The artist said she has not yet decided what to do with the information she collected. She said she might destroy it all, but she might also keep the documents as "precious artifacts of what people are willing to do. I kind of want to hold onto them forever."