Open-sourced project confronts government policy by putting users’ private communicate on display.
Superflux’s Open Informant project features a wearable badge with an e-ink display, where an accompanying app searches the wearer’s communications (e.g. email, text messages) for NSA trigger words and displays those phrases onto the badge. The customizable nametag, which can be built on and tweaked by other designers on Github, is currently uses the body as an instrument of protest, and could be utilized by campaign activists to display real-time protests.
The project works to address the narrative of safety and security that dominates the surveillance of private conversations; thus when designers were tasked with creating products for the theme of absorption, they went on to test the first iteration of the theme publicly. The creators make a strong socio-political comment in how they describe the motivations behind the nametag:
By openly displaying what is currently taken by forceful stealth, we question the intrusive forms of mass surveillance adopted by democratic nations on its own citizenry, and in the process, shift the conversation around wearables from being about you and your body as machine, to the culture of machine intelligence and algorithmic monitoring