2006 Rockefeller New Media Foundation Proposal
Brucker-Cohen, Jonah; Moriwaki, Katherine
Looking specifically at closed, or pay-per use wireless nodes (found most commonly in airports, Starbucks coffee shops, or other publicly sanctioned "waiting" areas), the Wi-Fi Liberator project is a response to the privatization of public space. Through freeing wireless nodes of monetary control through a series of public interventions the Wi-Fi Liberator project encourages dialogue about appropriate use of emerging wireless "real estate" and the disputed ideal of the "wireless commons." As mobile technology brings private conversations and interactions into the public sphere, an interesting rift has formed between the use of communications technology and the context under which such networks propagate. Since emerging network infrastructures have yet to be solidly defined as private, public, or corporate monitored services, confusion about rights, ownership, and management of network resources has reached an impasse. Wifi-Liberator is a tool that enables public access to commercialized networked spaces, functioning as a critique of the ever-encroaching corporate claim to public space. In a sense, Wifi Liberator exists as a tactical media tool for controlling and subverting claims of ownership and regulation over free spectrum, by allowing a free network to come from a 'parasitic' third-party.
public intervention; privatization; wireless; communications technology; network; corporatization; public space