See your identity pieced together from stolen data by Australian Broadcasting Corporation

As the amount of personal data held by governments and companies continues to grow, the personal and systemic cost of not securing this information properly also mounts. ABC News Story Lab investigated this huge issue, resulting in a piece of innovative storytelling that helps a general audience understand this complex topic.

‘See your identity pieced together from stolen data’ placed the reader at the center of their own personalized visual story based on real-world information.

We used an API from Have I Been Pwned? — a service that tracks stolen data across the internet, and is used by numerous national governments, security services and law enforcement.

The story was personalized by asking readers to enter their email address, and we then presented a visualized version of their Have I Been Pwned results to demonstrate how their data could be pieced together and possibly used against them.

The story helped readers:
Find out what data breaches they’d been caught up in
See a visual summary of the potential scale of the leaked information out there about them
Understand how something known as “the mosaic effect” can increase the risks we all face online

This project featured an unusual version of the source/reporter relationship that is possible only in digital reporting, a development that pushes the boundaries of how stories can reflect our increasingly digitized world.