Image credits: Boris Zharkov


Paolo Cirio has documented over 20,000 patents for technological inventions submitted to the U.S. Patent Office. On the project’s website,, he invites participants to track, share, flag, and ban patents of algorithms, interfaces, and designs that enable manipulation, discrimination, profiling, addiction, and surveillance. Some of the patents date back to 1998, and are widely in use today.

What systems are behind our most commonly used devices, who invented them, and who decides if they are ethical? Can you identify any of these inventions in the technologies you use?