Smart Border

CODE @ Ars Electronica

The borders of the European Union are becoming testbeds for invasive new technologies like facial recognition, voice recognition, iris scanning and predictive decision making. They are used to mark individuals as “risky”, deny them access and take away their freedoms.

We want people to realise that these new technologies are a closer reality in their lives than they may think. We created a fake wifi network and made it available to people passing freely through busy European train stations.  However, under the pretence of offering greater security or speed, people are asked to grant increasingly invasive permissions before they can get online.

We make it difficult for people to opt out, mirroring the lack of agency we have to opt out of these intrusive and dehumanising technologies. People are then encouraged to take action against them by signing Reclaim Your Face’s petition. Our project will be open source and can be reproduced by anyone across Europe wanting to take action on this issue.

Created by: Etta Jeanne Harkness-Bartholdi, Helin Ulas, Luna Al Bondakji, Lizzie Reid, Lukas Hondrich, Pierre Depaz, Sara Žišković, Sarah Haffar and Stephanie Walravens.

Smart Border is one of the four projects that was developed within the CODE programme: CODE brings together artists, non-artists, politicians and policy-makers in a dialogue that is aimed at the implementation of laws and legislation that will protect our rights as digital citizens and online consumers. For 5 months we worked closely together in a series of workshops, a social hackathon and a symposium about issues of privacy and freedom in our digital public sphere. At Ars Electronica 2021 we present the results of the programme.

CODE is a collaboration between IMPAKT and School of Machines, Making 
And was realised with the generous support of Fonds Soziokultur, Fonds Cultuurparticipatie, Botschaft des Königreichs der Niederlande, Goethe Institute NL and Stimuleringsfonds Creative Industrie.

Read more about CODE here


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