Artist Combats Unwanted Google Glass Surveillance

New program blocks Glassholes.

google-glass-block
Google Glass. Photo: Antonio Zugaldia, via Wikimedia Commons.

If you’re (rightfully) creeped out knowing that anyone wearing Google Glass could be recording your every move, or, even more intrusively, live-streaming it over the Internet, Berlin-based, New Zealand-born artist Julian Oliver has you covered. He has devised a computer program that essentially shuts down the technology remotely, reports Wired.

When one of Oliver’s friends recently held an art opening, where he noticed some Google Glass-wearing visitors, and became concerned that they could be secretly recording the evening and the artwork without permission. Oliver was quick to respond to his friend’s complaint: In under one hour, he created a quick and dirty script called Glasshole.sh that blocks Google Glass users from accessing wireless Internet.

The code uses a mini-computer to send a de-authorization command that kicks Google Glass offline. In a brave new world where we are increasingly exposed to technology that enables others to invisibly film and record our daily lives, Oliver is fighting back, critiquing the system through a simple computer code that says “back off Big Brother; not today.”

“To say ‘I don’t want to be filmed’ at a restaurant, at a party, or playing with your kids is perfectly OK,” Oliver told Wired. “But how do you do that when you don’t even know if a device is recording? This steps up the game. It’s taking a jammer-like approach.”

The artist plans to expand upon the initial program to disrupt even more Google Glass network functions, such as the user’s link to his or her phone. “That moves it from a territorial statement to ‘you can all go to hell,’” Oliver added.

Similar hacks, such as Anti-Glass, which undermines facial recognition capabilities on Google Glass, are also doing their best to preserve some semblance of privacy in our increasingly plugged-in world.


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