Capla Kesting Fine Art, a group of Williamsburg artists is trying to bring New York City into the 21st century by allowing free wireless to the masses. Being a New Yorker, this is a legitimate problem, being that it was easier for me to access free wireless while on Yale's campus in New Haven, CT, and in various strip malls in Columbus, OH.
A 10 ft hight tower named "CIA Cell Tower" is being constructed out of wood and antennas at 121 Roebling to amplify local wireless signals. It will be unveiled at the Confulx Festival, an event organized to promote awareness of the city. This may mean that the artists are amplifying local, unprotected wireless signals, meaning, the owner did not password protect his/her wireless signal when setting it up in his/her livingroom.
Part of their mission, as stated in Metro, is to also "raise awareness of government-funded wire-tapping, the erosion of civil liberties and the need to secure home connections from eavesdropping."
And from the Capla Kesting Fine Art press release:
Congress' recently approved changes to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act allows the NSA to monitor domestic conversations and e-mails and provides the legal standing for the cell tower's construction.
"The tower allows groups like the NSA to collect data intercepted through e-mails and internet traffic on unsecured Wi-Fi connections without having to approach internet service providers such as AT&T Inc. This will eliminate the U.S. government's alleged complicity in current class-action lawsuits filed by consumers who feel their privacy has been violated," explained John Leo.
If you do have a protected wireless system near the tower, you can access it in areas not just your home or in the downstairs coffee shop. For me, it would be the downstairs grocery store, and my wireless doesn't actually reach that far.
The Press Release
The Gowanus Lounch: "CIA Cell Tower" Art Project in Williamsburg