Loca is an interdisciplinary project on mobile media and grass-roots, pervasive surveillance.
A person walking through the city centre hears a beep on their phone, glances at the screen and sees a message reading:
“We are currently experiencing difficulties monitoring your position: please wave you network device in the air.” Or “Our server suggests that you may be late. You haven’t been charged for this advice.”
Loca looks at what happens when everyone can track everyone, when surveillance can be effected by consumer level technology within peer-to-peer networks without being routed through a central point.
The idea is to enable anyone with a device that has Bluetooth set to discoverable to be tracked. As the project develops inferences based on analysis of the data (sever-side) will guide communication with the Bluetooth users. People should be able to participate to the project through their own mobile phone without any additional technology, and without their device needing to be modified in any way.
Pervasive surveillance has the potential to be both sinister and positive, at the same time. The intent is to equip people to deal with the ambiguity and find their own conclusions.