Transparency Grenade: a grenade-shaped surveillance device for smoke-filled rooms

Julian Oliver's "Transparency Grenade" is a surveillance device shaped like a Soviet F1 Hand Grenade, stuffed with network sniffers and other technology. It is intended to be hidden in smoke-filled rooms where secretive and corrupt meetings are taking place, so that all the material therein can be widely viewed.

Most importantly however it is the hyperbole and fear around containing these volatile records, of the cyber burglary, that increasingly yields assumptive logics that ultimately shape how we use networks and think about the right to information. Just as record companies claim billions in losses due to file sharing, the fear of the leak is being actively exploited by law makers to afford organisations greater opacity and thus control.

This anxiety, this 'network insecurity', impacts not just upon the freedom of speech but the felt instinct to speak at all. All of a sudden letting public know what's going on inside a publicly funded organisation is somehow 'wrong' -Bradley Manning a sacrificial lamb to that effect. Meanwhile civil servants and publicly-owned companies continue to make decisions behind guarded doors that impact the lives of many, whether human or other animal.

The Transparency Grenade (We Make Money Not Art)

Transparency Grenade (project page)


  1. I’m sure it’s very clever commentary about the colloquial meaning of “throwing grenades” and all that, but there are all sorts of reasons that hiding a “grenade-shaped device” in what is meant to be a secure room containing your ideological opponents isn’t actually all that clever.

    1. First and foremost that it’s the opposite of discreet.  It’s a glowing weapon.  What do they expect, their target to look at it and say, “oops, Bill left one of his cybergrenades behind again.  Oh, that guy.  He’s wacky.”

  2. While I appreciate the artistic sentiment, I have to think it would be more effective to disguise it as a hardcover book or some other innocuous device.

  3. And even after all of the above, carrying an object that looks so much like a weapon that even an expert would be hard-put to answer is a good way to get shot and/or locked away? And ruin your life forever and ever? Dumb.

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