From DrtBox

DRTBox Revisited, Reimagined, Recycled

DRTBox collects cell data from 1000s of phones

In 2017 NPR reported on DirtBox, a gizmo that collects data from thousands of cell phones at a time. It costs $100K, and is used by law enforcement and military.

Hackernews confirmed: DRTBox is a military surveillance technology that has capabilities of both Stingray as well as Dirtbox, allowing the police to track, intercept thousands of cellphone calls and quietly eavesdrop on conversations, emails, and text messages.  

DRTBox inspires anger & an art project

I was at once angered and inspired, and I blogged about it. I was mad. Really mad. And then inspired. I envisioned a 10-foot-by-10-foot installation made up of various sizes of canvas covered with a design of tiny boxes and dots. The boxes were to be the cell phones, and the dots were to be the data being collected. I imagined that I could pour all of my anger, frustration, and fear into these canvases, that people might get excited about the effect this gizmo would have on society, and — and …. I wasn’t sure what would come after that.


DRTbox blank
DrtBox blank: Sample of the pencil drawing that was done on 10 square feet of canvas.
DRTbox in progress
DrtBox in progress. Painting inside the lines with tiny paintbrushes.
DrtBox Juxto
DrtBox Juxto: A canvas board glued to a canvas.


DRTBox anger recedes, recycling begins

Breathing deeply, I recognized that I have limited capacity for high-decibel anger. (There is too much to be upset about for single-subject high-velocity fretting.)

With my anger receding, I could focus on recycling. I covered some of the penciled and painted canvases with white gesso as a base for new projects.

One canvas retained its dots and serves as the background for Belinda the Beaded Elephant. Standing on a field of little boxes, she absorbed all of my anger and most of the active-keeps-me-up-at-night the concern about privacy, spying, and personal space. She is the CEO and Principal Advocate for “Free the Fones,” an international non-profit working on a long list of privacy, internet, and e-commerce issues. Please reply to her appeals for money, time, and fresh vegetables. She eats 15 pounds of every day.

DRTBox Recycled into a White Elephant
DrtBox Recycled: Belinda the Beaded Elephant, CEO and Principal Advocate for “Free the Phones”