Excited and honored to join Eyebeam as a resident!!


Eyebeam is pleased to announce the recipients of its Fall/Winter 2014 Eyebeam Residencies. Residents are chosen through a highly competitive twice-yearly call open to artists, creative technologists, designers, curators, urbanists, architects, and policy thinkers. Recipients receive 24/7 access to Eyebeam’s design, digital research, and fabrication studios, as well as $5000 each to produce new works.

Incoming Residents:

Chloe Varelidi designs and produces playful experiences. Like games, products and events. Chloe, in collaboration with Atul Varma, will build themed arcades with teens in Brooklyn by developing a browser based tool called Minicade that makes it easy to collaboratively create an arcade of mini games with friends while learning to code along the way. http://varelidi.com/

Atul Varma enjoys building bridges of understanding between humans and machines. He has written software that’s been used as the centerpiece of TED Talks, in maker events around the world, and by individuals who are just trying to have a less frustrating time using their computer. But his favorite moments are very personal: understanding where another person is coming from, constructing a metaphor they can relate to, and using it to explain technology in a way that liberates, excites, and empowers. http://www.toolness.com/wp/

Joanne McNeill is a writer and researcher interested in the ways technology is shaping art, politics, and society. At Eyebeam, she will develop safe spaces for women in art and technology, on and off the internet, including digital art projects and community organizing that focuses on fighting structural prejudice with structural solutions. http://joannemcneil.com

Allison Burtch has worked on projects such as the Dumb Store - a mobile app store for dumbphones™, co-organized the Drones and Aerial Robotics Conference at New York University and was the editor of the “Occupied Wall Street Journal”, a six-edition print publication translated into six languages. At Eyebeam, she will make a sine-wave generator that creates frequencies at 24khz, enough to block iPhones and Androids microphones from audio recording, protecting people from self-censorship in an age of constant surveillance. http://www.allisonburtch.net/

A brief guide to mobile and email encryption tools

Last week at ITS in Rio de Janeiro I helped present some practical tools for protection from government and corporate surveillance. Joana Varon presented on OTR and other tools and Primavera presented on bitcoin.

With the World Cup evictions disproportionately effecting the poor and people of color, and the Olympics on their way in 2016, there’s a lot of upheaval right now in Brazilian society. There were a number of activists who had not only experienced police violence but also had first-hand accounts of cops knowing what was on their computers before touching them. They were even putting mobile phones in foil. I hope this can be a resource to them. Please feel free to send questions and edits. I have to give a caveat: I am in neither a cryptographer nor a computer scientist, and I can give no one tool 100% trust. Talk in person, away from cameras, cameras and phones.

Also, my goal was to focus on tools that are usable and not geared towards people who have any tech knowledge. Too often, the most usable products are also the most exploitative, and the most secure programs are next to impossible to figure out.


  • Android - WhisperSystems has two different apps: TextSecure is for texting and RedPhone is for calling. Both are open source (which is important so that third parties can independently audit the code
  • iOS - Threema is an app for secure messaging that works for both Android and iOS. ChatSecure is another OTR (off the record) messaging app that also works for both.


Okay, so installing PGP on your email can be a bit time-consuming. Plan on budgeting about an hour to do all of this. PGP stands for “pretty good privacy" and was developed by Phil Zimmerman in 1993, who was subsequently the butt of a federal investigation. You can read more at the wikipedia. This is a really good video explaining the idea for public and private keys using colors.

  • First you have to set up your email with an email client. Thunderbird is probably the easiest because you can use the Enigmail plugin. This is the link to the English version of Thunderbird but you can also find the Portuguese (or whatever language you need) on the Mozilla site. should be downloaded, installed and connected to your email already 

  • Search for and download Enigmail

  • Restart Thunderbird


  • Download GPG4Win http://gpg4win.org/
  • Now, this is important. Windows users - follow every step of this guide. I think I messed it up during the workshop because we skipped the bottom part.
  • Kleopatra seems to default to a 2048 bit key. Make sure to change this to 4096.


  • Download GPGTools and follow their quickstart guide. I already had a key, so I created a new key for my gmail.
  • You can easily use the Mac Mail.app.

Don’t forget to create a revocation certificate and upload your key to a key server!!

I’ve put mine on the MIT keyserver and a couple others.

Keybase is an open-source command line project for managing your and your friends’ public keys, but is probably way too confusing if you’re just getting into tech stuff.


  • If you’re not using Firefox already, you should definitely switch. It’s the only browser left that doesn’t log everything that you do. Everything you do in Chrome - every website you click on, everything you search - is saved forever by Google. Make sure your default search engine is DuckDuckGo.
  • Some cool plugins are ghostery, https everywhere and adblock. They all have service for multiple languages and browsers. I also fucking love vertical tabs.


  • For total anonymity, download and use the Tor browser. Tor (an acronym for The Onion Router) allows you to browse the web anonymously, by going through layers and layers of ip addresses, making tracking difficult to impossible. The Tor Project also has
  • Tails, a live, bootable operating system on a USB drive.
  • Orbot allows you to use Tor on your mobile device.


  • Crypto.cat is awesome
  • Video chat. WebRTC (web real time communication) allows us to have in-browser chatting now. I’m not sure how secure talky.io is, but at least it’s not Google or Microsoft? I made a version myself that I called Spyke, but I don’t really have the time to devote enough attention to it to make it usable.



Thanks for reading. Feel free to reblog with questions, comments or edits. There is a definitive, exhaustive list of resources at prism-break.org, and last year we organized a conference at Eyebeam called PrismBreakup that had some good talks and workshops.

Giving a workshop next week on how to use PGP and send an encrypted email. Also talking about other, more secure forms of communication on the internet. If you’re in Rio, come!

I’m giving a presentation of my work and thoughts about technology tomorrow night at ITS in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It’s on the top floor of a building overlooking the ocean. :)

Really excited to announce I’m going to Brazil in a couple of weeks!

My master’s thesis presentation at ITP/NYU, “Navigating the Really Real.”

Internet Illuminator

Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 11.43.50 PM

This Firefox addon iterates through all of the html text in your browser and whenever it finds a person or corporation from the data, it illuminates that relationship a little bit.

The main problem I was trying to solve was how to increase the spread of information about political and corporate relationships without making people go to one place for the data. So, I made an addon that appends brands, individuals and corporations with who they are owned by, other companies of which they are board members, or dates of acquisitions.

These ubiquitous relationships are often complex and unknown. It reveals the connections between corporations, brands and individuals by clarifying the corporate and political power structures of the 1%.

It appends that person, brand or corporation with who they are owned by, sponsored by, or acquired by. Data was compiled mainly from the Little Sis API, lists of lists on Wikipedia, and other corporate watchdog sources.

N.B., the data was updated as of May, 2014. As there are infinite data points and everything is constantly changing, I give no guarantee that the data is 100% accurate. There will be bugs.

You can check out the code on github.

Urban infrastructure (cell towers) disguised to look natural. I made a log jammer - to provide a safe space in nature. A cell phone jammer in a real tree in real woods.

The ITP Spring Show is Monday from 5-9pm and Tuesday from 4-8pm at 721 Broadway, 4th floor. I’ll be showing the stuff I made for my thesis. And I have some crazy talented classmates. Come!

I’m presenting my thesis, Navigating the Really Real, tomorrow (Thursday, May 15th) at 12:40pm. The main question I’m asking is how do we make stuff in a world that’s messed up, where we don’t need more stuff. But at the same time, how can we be emotionally present to the reality of our situation. I made a series of projects that fall under the umbrella of what I’ve termed - and how I’ve defined - Liberation Technology, which is technology that liberates from unjust social, economic or political conditions.

Feel free to check it out either in person or on the livestream tomorrow!

I’m presenting my thesis, Navigating the Really Real, tomorrow (Thursday, May 15th) at 12:40pm. The main question I’m asking is how do we make stuff in a world that’s messed up, where we don’t need more stuff. But at the same time, how can we be emotionally present to the reality of our situation. I made a series of projects that fall under the umbrella of what I’ve termed - and how I’ve defined - Liberation Technology, which is technology that liberates from unjust social, economic or political conditions.

Feel free to check it out either in person or on the livestream tomorrow!

PCB design

I made an add-on that appends names and brands in the browser with who they’re owned by. It is up for preliminary review if you want to test it out. Fair warning it definitely slows things up right now because of the sheer mass of data.

Students these days are worried about getting jobs. Grades matter not as a cumulative indicator of lessons learned but because they affect a student’s degree success. Education is not an end in itself: it is the means to an end - an economic end.

At ITP, I want to walk this fragile line where art breaks from commerce, creativity from marketability, and philosophy from profit.

In Monoculture, F.S. Michaels asserts that throughout history, people have viewed their world through a singular lens. In the Middle Ages, the lens was religious, and damning someone to hell was a palpable punishment. The Renaissance rotated its lens to system of scientific reasoning. Then things changed.

We currently view the world – and the art, creativity, scholarship and industry that define it – through an economic lens. Here, Michaels writes, “art matters not because it elevates the human experience, but because it contributes to ‘international competitiveness, economic modernization, urban regeneration, economic diversification, national prestige, [and] economic development.”

However, I believe in inherent beauty, beauty that is valuable independent from financial profitability. I believe that philosophy has a place in society, and that an educational system that awards 21.7% of B.A. graduates with business degrees does not necessarily cultivate good citizens.

The economist E.F. Schumacher put it this like this: “Call a thing immoral or ugly, soul destroying or a degradation of man, a peril to the peace of the world or to the well-being of future generations; as long as you have not shown it to be ‘uneconomic’ you have not really questioned its right to exist, grow, and prosper.”

There is another American way and we can find another American lens.

— This is the first page of my ITP application essay that I wrote while the world changed around me in November 2011, in the midst of Occupy Wall Street. It’s interesting for me to look back at what guided me, though now I’d word it differently. I’m calling my thesis an exploration of ‘liberation technology,’ technology with the goal of liberating people from unjust economic, political, or social conditions. Protecting people from tech companies. This isn’t done through creation but through destruction. We don’t need more apps.

inversely testing a circuit with a software defined radio

Designing in Eagle, milling on a Roland, placing parts under a microscope, soldering and testing a surface mount circuit board.

Then hooking it up to my breadboard with other parts. I’m getting a good triangle wav with amplitude and noise, but we don’t have a network/spectrum analyzer to check if the SMD part of the circuit is working.