Artist and scholar on DIY culture and technology, Garnet Hertz, has a new piece opening up at York University, Gales Gallery, Toronto tonight. The piece, entitled "Experiments in Surveillance Capitalism: Device for Calling the Department of Homeland Security" is part of the exhibition "Disruptive Design & Digital Fabrication."
This system uses custom electronics to programmatically speak search terms into a seance-like ring of a dozen Google Home smart speakers. The system searches for controversial search terms that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are reported to monitor. The idea is that these "red flag" keyword Google searches will attract the attention of the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, or CSIS. This system plays with the fear that individuals have about privacy with contemporary smart devices. Related to this, in Canada there have been recent concerns about Huawei's ties to the Chinese government in regard to 5G network infrastructure — but it is worth also considering how companies like Google collect, synthesize, and sell our private information.
Here is the concept art for a larger version of the piece. The image above is of the scaled-down version which is part of the Gales Gallery show opening tonight.
On the occasion of the publication of Permanent Record, a memoir of Edward Snowden's journey from gung-ho would-be special forces sergeant to CIA and NSA spy to whistleblower -- a memoir that the US government is suing to repress -- Snowden has given an interview with CBS where he expresses his desire to return to […]
After the Snowden revelations, US-based Big Tech companies raced to reassure their non-US customers that the NSA wasn't raiding their cloud-based data, moving servers inside their customers' borders and (theoretically) out of reach of the NSA; then came the Cloud Act (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act), in which the US government claimed the […]
[Matt Potolsky's new book, The National Security Sublime, is a tour through the look-and-feel of mass surveillance, as practiced by the most unlikely of aesthetes: big data authoritarian snoops and the grifter military contractors who wax fat on them. This is a subject dear to my heart. -Cory] The US National Security Agency is big, […]
Most parents know that giving their kids educational toys and other projects will expand their minds. But what many might not realize is that physical play is actually building their mental abilities as well. Studies are still in beginning stages, but some early research supports the theory that kids who get the chance to get […]
Not every house has a fireplace. And to be honest, not every homeowner wants to deal with the hassles and maintenance of a fireplace. But it’s tough to argue that the intoxicating glow and dance of a licking flame isn’t mesmerizing, not to mention all of a fire’s practical uses. For those looking to enjoy […]
Knowledge is power. And a company that knows who its customers are is far more likely to see those customers return. On the web, information gathering often comes in the shape of an online form. Whether it’s a registration, a contest, an order, or just a simple contact, those opportunities to engage with users and […]