Project Cuckoo looks at our interactions with intercepted social networks and how alternative ways of communicating might change them.
A new project from one Berlin-based designer has set out to explore our interactions with intercepted social networks and how alternative ways of communicating might change them. Created by Jochen Maria Weber, Cuckoo is a device that uses social media as a means of private communication, and encrypts messages into randomly generated words, meanings and noise in order to scatter them over multiple networks simultaneously.
The idea was conceived back in 2011 after Icelandic politician and activist spokesperson Birgitta Jónsdóttir was notified by Twitter that it had been subpoenaed by the U.S. Department of Justice demanding information around all her tweets since November 2009.
“Heavy data collection, surveillance and control became normal and more important, increasingly legal on most internet communication platforms,” Weber writes. “What if we used social networks but hiding our actual information? What if we could use their infrastructure without divulging privacy?”
With Cuckoo, each letter of an original message is immediately translated into complex forms of certain length forming new sentences, which are then posted to their respective social channel, next to randomly generated noise-sentences for distraction. The device also enables the encryption method to be changed with every new message. Any receiving unit following the respective social network accounts can filter and decrypt the important posts according to their encryption method and timestamp. Cuckoo combines these social networks to build a hidden one on top of their infrastructure, or as the designer puts it, “an egg in the others’ nests.”
The project was brought to life using the combination of Arduino Yún (ATmega32U4) and Temboo, along with Twitter, Skype and Tumblr APIs. Interested in learning more? Head over to its official page here. Meanwhile, be sure to check it out in action below.