Data Pools
DataPools target locations for Wi-Fi gelocation spoofing. Graphic © 2018 Anastasia Kubrak and Adam Harvey

DataPools target locations for Wi-Fi gelocation spoofing. Graphic © 2018 Anastasia Kubrak and Adam Harvey

DataPools is a Wi-Fi geolocation spoofing project that virtually relocates your phone to the latitudes and longitudes of Silicon Valley’s elite. It includes a catalog and a SkyLift device with 12 pre-programmed locations. DataPools was produced for the Tropez summer art event in Berlin and in collaboration with Anastasia Kubrak.

DataPools Wi-Fi geolocation spoofing device

DataPools Wi-Fi geolocation spoofing device

Weren’t invited to Jeff Bezos’s summer pool party? Peter Thiel still ignoring your emails? No problem. DataPools uses the SkyLift device to emulate the Wi-Fi network infrastructure at 12 of the top Silicon Valley CEOs causing your phone to show up, approximately, at their pool. SkyLift’s Wi-Fi spoofing overrides the core geolocation services on iOS and Android smartphones relocating all apps and the metadata they generate, to the backyards of Silicon Valley’s elites.

Core location has been hijacked to Hawaii

Core location has been hijacked to Hawaii

Zooming in to Makena Rd., Hawaii. Target is Peter Thiel's pool.

Zooming in to Makena Rd., Hawaii. Target is Peter Thiel’s pool.

Arrival at Peter's house on Makena Rd., Hawaii (about 150m off)

Arrival at Peter’s house on Makena Rd., Hawaii (about 150m off)

Data Pools is a metaphor for a store of wealth that is private. The luxurious pools and mansions of Silicon Valley are financed by the mechanisms of economic surveillance and ownership of our personal information. Yet, the geographic locations of these premises are often concealed, hidden, and removed from open source databases. What if we could reverse this logic and plunge into the pools of ludicrous wealth, both virtually and physically? Could we apply the same methods of data extraction to highlight the ridiculous inequalities between CEOs and platform users?

DataPools in action at Tropez / Humboldthain Park in Berlin. Phone is at Jeff’s House in Beverly Hills

DataPools in action at Tropez / Humboldthain Park in Berlin. Phone is at Jeff’s House in Beverly Hills

Technicals #

Technically, DataPools uses a Wi-Fi micro-controller programmed with the BSSIDs and SSIDs from the target locations, which were all obtained using openly published information from web searches and wigle.net. This data is then programmed onto the firmware of the SkyLift device. One SkyLift device contains all 12 pool locations.

SkyLift PCB front

SkyLift PCB front

SkyLift PCB back

SkyLift PCB back

For large installations in outdoor spaces, multiple devices and Wi-Fi amplifiers are recommended. Also, it can help to visualize the Wi-Fi infrastructure to determine the best locations and distancing for each device when deploying a multi-device installation.

Geo-plot of Wi-Fi networks for Mark Zuckerberg’s private pool in Palo Alto.

Geo-plot of Wi-Fi networks for Mark Zuckerberg’s private pool in Palo Alto.

Installation #

DataPools was installed at Humboldthain Pool Park in Berlin in 2018 with Jeff Bezos location, but was later shutdown due to complaints of geolocation spoofing (it worked). It also became a popular way to surf Tinder in Beverly Hills according to Tropez staffers.

DataPools in action at Tropez / Humboldthain Park in Berlin. Phone is at Jeff’s House in Beverly Hills.

DataPools in action at Tropez / Humboldthain Park in Berlin. Phone is at Jeff’s House in Beverly Hills.

DataPools summer Wi-Fi spoofing event.

DataPools summer Wi-Fi spoofing event.

Hardware #

The source code, schematic, and board files are available at github.com/adamhrv/skylift. It can be built for as little as $5.

Credits #

  • Concept: Adam Harvey and Anastasia Kubrak
  • SkyLift: Adam Harvey 2016-ongoing
  • Unreal Estate: 2016-ongoing Anastasia Kubrak
  • Graphic Design: Anastasia Kubrak
  • Tropez event: Nele Heinevetter
  • Hosted by Tropez Art Space: tropeztropez.de
  • Additional Thanks: Leona Koldehoff, Sophie Boysen, and Nils Philipp