“Wifi Hog”

Hardware and Software modified for Intervention in public space, 2003

Jonah Brucker-Cohen


In his many projects, Jonah Brucker-Cohen questions the architecture of communications networks and considers how the sociology of their use can be changed by altering their basic rules, even just slightly. “Wi-Fi Hog” is a response to the utopian vision of free networks as open, shared and communal spaces. The device, which Brucker-Cohen imagines as a tactical tool that could be used by activists in protest actions, allows the user to gain control of an open wireless network in such a way that only the “kidnapper” can use it to access the Internet, expulsing the rest of users. The system consists of a laptop connected to a videojamming device that generates interferences, and a sniffing program that intercepts the data packets that circulate through the net. The software only "lets through" the packets originating in the IP of the computer connected to the “Wi-Fi Hog”; for all others, the interference device is activated and they are rendered useless. The aim of the project is to investigate how adding limits to a network and making access more competitive and territorial changes the relationships between users.