You have to be a special type of individual privacy advocate in order to write a program that detects Google Glass users and cuts them from the Wi – Fi.
Apparently, Berlin artist Julian Oliver has a very big bone to pick with Google Glass users and the proverbial Glassholes out there, as he developed the Glasshole.sh program just to keep them at bay.
We are not sure how happy Google is going to be about this, especially since the company publicly condemned the use of the Glass as a spying tool and released the “Don’t be a Glasshole” policy, but in truth, Olivier’s program might be more successful than anyone thinks. Let’s see how the Glasshole.sh program works:
It detects any Glass device attempting to connect to a Wi-Fi network based on a unique character string that he says he’s found in the MAC addresses of Google’s augmented reality headsets. Install Oliver’s program on a Raspberry Pi or Beaglebone mini-computer and plug it into a USB network antenna, and the gadget becomes a Google Glass detector, sniffing the local network for signs of Glass users. When it detects Glass, it uses the program Aircrack-NG to impersonate the network and send a “deauthorization” command, cutting the headset’s Wi-Fi connection. It can also emit a beep to signal the Glass-wearer’s presence to anyone nearby.
We don’t want to pass judgement here, but there is some sort of mass hysteria propagating all over the United States and it is not in favor of the Glass. The artist just didn’t want anybody to come to one of his artistic exhibits and covertly film and broadcast the show afterwards.
There are bars, pubs and institutions banning Google Glass wearers to come in. And God forbid you enter a cinema wearing the Glass. The Homeland Security agents (or ICE agents, depending on what resource you trust) might bust in and take you in for questioning on the suspicion of piracy, as it happened to a man in Ohio earlier this year.
Back to the Glasshole.sh program, nobody contested that Glassholes can be everywhere and can engage in unorthodox, even fraudulent activities. Having a program that just cuts off the users’ connection without even knowing what the users’ intentions are is a bit extreme to be honest. What is more extreme, however, is Oliver’s intention to write another version of the program that can be even more aggressive. It can be
designed to be a kind of roving Glass-disconnector, capable of knocking Glass off any network or even severing its link to the user’s phone. “That moves it from a territorial statement to ‘you can all go to hell.’ It’s a very different position, politically,” he says. For that version, Oliver says he plans to warn users that the program may be more legally ill-advised, and is only to be used “in extreme circumstances.”
This world doesn’t need extreme circumstances to manifest its dark side. It just needs the right circumstances. And *holes aren’t scarce either. But while the initiative to protect one’s privacy and intellectual rights is salutary, the road the Glasshole.sh program opens in front of us can lead to far more dangerous outcomes. For the sake of mankind’s mental health, we hope we won’t witness cases of physical violence or street violence manifestations over a piece of hardware. Even if we have the precedent.