Our homes and cities are becoming increasingly connected, by 2017 there will be free public Wi-Fi hotspots on London streets and by 2020 every house in the UK will have a smart meter. We’re working on a research project with Meredith Whittaker at Google Open Research to understand how these new technologies change our rights, and what the security and privacy implications of those changes are.
The project mixed desk research, guerilla testing and expert interviews with a hardware prototype that helped us 'see' invisible technology. This approach helped us interrogate the way free Wi-Fi is implemented, and understand how that encodes particular power structures.
A lack of transparency about what technology really does means people don’t have a say on how their data is being collected or used. Users are open to manipulation by services they’ve come to rely on. We explored how these gaps in understanding create new risks, and how vulnerable people are left exposed.