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Technological Surrealism / Alec Nerds Out

Wiretap Picture Frame

The Wiretap Picture Frame is a custom-built digital picture frame intended to hang on a coffee shop wall as local art. It snoops on the coffee shop’s wireless connection and displays images stolen from customers’ web browsing sessions.

The Wiretap Picture Frame is a digital picture frame made from an obsolete laptop. The laptop’s chassis was removed and its electronics modified so that it could be mounted into a brushed metal picture frame.

The project demonstrates the lack of security in unencrypted wireless communications, which are commonly used in coffee shops, airports, etc. When a user of an unencrypted wireless network requests an image over the web (unless they’re using https:// ) that image will pop up on the picture frame.


While I was working on this project, I received a leaflet from the residents of a nearby residential tower organizing a petition to prevent the placement of a cellular telephone antenna on its roof, citing health concerns. This project helps demonstrate that not only is electromagnetic radiation passing through us all the time, but moreover, much of it is pornography.

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