A data breach you can smell
SIMONE C. NIQUILLE FOR LEANNE WIJNSMA AND FROUKJE TA
By Julia Zorthian
October 21, 2016

In an age of constant connectivity, it’s hard to know when you’re putting data at risk. Not so with the Smell of Data, an experimental product designed by Dutch duo Leanne Wijnsma and Froukje Tan that syncs with smartphones and computers via wi-fi and emits a metallic odor when, for example, users visit an unprotected website or connect to a nonsecure hot spot.

The goal, says Wijnsma, was to create a “bad data” alert that’s hard to miss, just as the U.S. government requires that a sulfur smell be added to odorless natural gas so people can sniff out leaks. Next up: making it smaller or even wearable.

Write to Julia Zorthian at julia.zorthian@time.com.

This appears in the October 31, 2016 issue of TIME.

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