A team of artists, technologists and designers in Germany have created a device which they believe can block wireless surveillance.
The gadget, no bigger than a laptop charger that plugs into a wall and patrols the local Wi-Fi network for connected Google Glass devices, along with other potential surveillance gadgets like Google Dropcams, Wi-Fi-enabled drone copters, and certain wireless microphones. When it detects one of those devices, it can be programmed to flash an alert with an LED light, play a sound through connected speakers, and even ping the Cyborg Unplug owner’s smartphone through an Android app, as well as silently booting those potential spy devices from the network.
The Cyborg Unplug will be offered in two versions: A cheaper version called “Little Snipper” equipped with only an LED blinker alert and higher-end version, dubbed “the Axe,” will also include the Android app, an audio connection to any nearby speakers for an audible beeping alert, and a 5G Wi-Fi connection often used by businesses as well as the more common 2.4G connection.
Cutting the Wi-Fi uplink of surveillance gadgets will not prevent snooping if the data are stored locally on the device. In fact, Cyborg Unplug wouldn’t even detect any Glass user who doesn’t attempt to connect to Wi-Fi. However, it would at least make it more difficult to surreptitiously stream video or images to a remote location without leaving evidence on the snoop’s local device. “A casino owner, for instance, might catch someone with some device and take it off them, but could never prove they were recording because they were streaming to somewhere else,” Oliver says.