In the pre-Snowden age, considering that you were being spoken to by a household item was enough to have you committed to correctional facilities -sponsored reprogramming.
In his new novel, Nowhere to Hide, the journalist Glenn Greenwald describes how the NSA contractor and he turned whistleblower put their telephones with the batteries disconnected to thwart spooks’ skill to control telephones remotely as mics in a deep freezer. But what would occur if the refrigerator was listening to your own words?
Hipsters Build NSA Surveillance Tribute in NY
Two American artists at the moment are taking that notion into a rational decision. Using just a credit card-sized Raspberry Pi computer, a mic and a WiFi card hacked into a lightbulb fitting, and a piece of open source software hosted at Github, they’ve installed a listening device at an undisclosed place in Manhattan, ny, and linked it to your Twitter web feed.
“There are many ways this could be executed, some completely free of charge,” says Brian House, a 34-year old artist living in nyc, who co-created the job with Kyle MacDonald. “Our variant prices between $50 and 100 as it contains a Raspberry Pi and a mic.”
House describes how it operates. “The apparatus always records 10-second snippets of sound, analyses the for prospective voice content, and sends assuring file to Mechanical Turk for transcription. The system then posts these transcriptions to Twitter.”
The transcriptions of the Twitter web feed the are at times at others oddly touching, and cryptic; but consistently intensely voyeuristic.
How do you feel about mass surveillance?
Would all these phrases’ speakers feel to see their words recorded such as this? How would you feel live and to have your private conversations overheard -tweeted? Feel the exact same manner about Tempora, or Prism, XKeyscore?
Stripped of circumstance, these remarks might cause you to consider over a world where there’s no solitude, nor any anticipation of its ramifications. It reifies the belief that someone someplace within an office in Utah, Virginia or Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, is listening to your every word. That is not paranoia; that is the modern surveillance state, say the artists, who considered a live sound stream but settled on text.
The artists say: “The ability to dissect and comprehend text can also be the basis for the international surveillance machine. As soon as you have something that’s searchable, knowable, you may make forecasts and judgements from it – and that is where the risk is. That notion of making the real world searchable in realtime is the basis for Conversnitch.”
Its objectives, they say, are to play notions around politics and technology. “Binaries like public/private, physical/digital, human/automated are being completely reconfigured at the minute, which is quite definitely a political problem.
“The secret installation of Prism and other applications is an obvious breach of democratic principles, and it requires a rethinking of the way in which a free society must work within an age when data-generating technology is thus incorporated into regular life.”
The artists say they’d “definitely” collaborate with authorities if they heard someone admitting to some serious offense or plotting a terrorist incident, but what do they think of the ethos of releasing code and info which may help individuals spy on their buddies, coworkers, or partners? “Since time immemorial there have been all kinds of creative ways to do that,” says House. “Releasing the code is a prompt to other artists to iterate on the notion, and it presents how simple something like this can be setting up, hopefully creating some essential reflection.”