SkyLift: Low-Cost Geo-Location Spoofing Device

Adam Harvey, Berlin/Germany — Mrz 10, 2017

Akademie Schloss Solitude - SkyLift: Low-Cost Geo-Location Spoofing Device
»SkyLift: Low-Cost Geo-Location Spoofing Device« by Adam Harvey, Berlin/Germany

Are we already living in surveillance states? Is their a creative side of privacy? And what do artists and WikiLeaks have in common?
Against the narratives of Google and Facebook, that privacy doesn’t exist anymore, Adam Harvey believes: privacy is the new trend. Already well-known through his
anti-surveillance and anti-drone fashion/camouflage-projects, he also made it possible to break geofencing and obscure geolocation metadata with the open source project SkyLift. For Web Residencies No. 1, 2017 by Solitude & ZKM curated by Tatiana Bazzichelli on the topic »Blowing the Whistle, Questioning Evidence« he has now released the third version of the device: Read an interview with the artist on surveillance, art, and whistleblowing, and learn how to build your own SkyLift for less than $5.

Concept for the web residencies

SkyLift is small device that exploits the longstanding vulnerability (from 2008) in geo-location positioning using WiFi BSSIDs. Companies, including Google and Apple, rely on the use of this WiFi packets from home routers to return the estimated smartphone users position. Until now, this method has required the use of multiple routers and a complicated, expensive setup. SkyLift reintroduces the concept to a new audience using a low-cost, Arduino-compatible WiFi transceiver (ESP8266) to relocate the user to almost anywhere in the world. The project has been exhibited as part of the !Mediengruppe Bitnik’s Assange Room installation at the Zoo Gallery (Nantes), at La Gaîté Lyrique (Paris), and at FACT (Liverpool) where it has been shown to successfully relocate visitors to the actual location of Julian Assange’s room in London. For this web residency, I would like to demonstrate how SkyLift can be easily built and used by activists to break geofencing and obscure geolocation metadata.

Adam Harvey

Adam Harvey is an artist and independent researcher based in Berlin. His work includes developing camouflage from face detection (CV Dazzle, 2010), anti-drone garments (Stealth Wear, 2013), and a faraday cage phone case (OFF Pocket, 2013). Harvey’s multidisciplinary approach to exploiting surveillance technologies has been widely noted in a wide range of publications from the New York Times to the Air Force Times.

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