In 2007, a mother in Chicago inadvertently tuned in to a transmission from the Space Shuttle Atlantis on her baby monitor. Although NASA insisted the transmission was not coming directly from Atlantis, the monitor was certainly picking up the video signal, perhaps being streamed to another device nearby.
Many household items transmit on the 2.4Ghz frequency – some phones, modems, walkie-talkies, intercoms, remote control toys and indeed baby monitors. This works like the channel of a radio station. Information is broadcast from one device on this channel, and another device tunes in and picks up the information. Interestingly, footage from surveillance cameras is also often transmitted on this frequency.
French artist Benjamin Gaulon was inspired by this event to discover what other unencrypted video was being inadvertently broadcast.
Benjamin Gaulon’s 2.4Ghz Workshop invites visitors to the gallery to borrow a baby monitor and walk around the area to see what transmissions can be found. The activity does not actually hack into the surveillance system. It is simply tuning in to a particular channel into information that is freely available. Gaulon points out that as technology has become cheaper and more accessible, the public is using more and more devices on this frequency without realizing that they are actually broadcasting this information, or sending it out into the airwaves. If they can tune into it, so can their neighbour.
Read an article on the original incident that inspired Benjamin Gaulon’s ’2.4Ghz Workshop’ 2013 here