Forget cards, PINs, fingerprints and mobile phones. In the world of artist and designer Soomi Park, anyone wanting to withdraw cash will have to present their genitals at the ATM for an enclosed dachshund to perform an authenticating sniff.
Park's The Republic of Privacy project, currently exhibiting at the Biennale Internationale Design in France, takes on the debate about the mass collection of personal data by governments and corporations by imagining a place designed to ensure privacy.
So that citizens of her republic do not have to share their data with banks, dogs replace cards and PINs at the ATM, using their rigorous sense of smell and the aid of specialist sniffer masks to authenticate customers.
To make a withdrawal, a citizen undoes a flap in their specially tailored clothing, exposing their lower body to the machine, with a tube system bringing the scent to the dog's mask. The dog then compares the scent to those stored in a database until it finds a match and the customer can access their cash.
Says the republic's Public Funds Agency: "Dogs have been used in a professional context for many years, most infamously by the East German Stasi Police, who had scent samples and used dogs to target and track people using scent. While this was a complete invasion of privacy, we use the same technique to respect and protect individual privacy."
Park told the Guardian that "it’s private, because a dog can’t talk," although she admits that there is a paradox because the dog sniffing is an invasion of privacy in itself. "It’s not supposed to make sense at the first glance, but I want to believe that it could provoke a debate."
While dogs in ATMs may be a first, UK charity Canine Partners has trained mutts to use cash machines for their disabled owners.