Critical Engineering
The Critical Engineering Working Group
Danja Vasiliev

WannaScry! [work in progress] (2021)

Privacy breach & Biometric data theft on a Video-Calling service

The power to manipulate, view and mimic the lives of individuals from afar nowadays isn't an extrasensory ability.

Practices of communication interception, distortion and manipulation are broadly exercised in cyberspace as a means of control and monetization; all the while the recent increase in usage of video-calling services created an abundance of personal media-data which itself became an easy and desirable prey.

Privacy negligence - like in the example of Zoom Leaks - intentionally or not may expose users' most private biometric information to data harvesters and those alike.

WannaScry! illustrates a security breach of a video-calling service and demonstrates to the public the extent to which personal biometric data can be intercepted and extracted by malicious cyber-actors and state agencies.

Information such as age, sentiment, location of a user complemented by a transcript of their chat is collected. However, instead of being sold on the black market this information is presented publicly.

WannaScry! seeks to draw attention to the next generation of our interrelationship with the internet and vulnerabilities that come with our accelerating sublimation into cyberspace.

WannaScry! [WIP], view of projection sphere

Taking the shape of a large scrying ball, or "palantír" on the surface of which images of intercepted video-calls are projected, WannaScry! installation references "remote viewing" - known as an extrasensory ability, today is easily afforded by the functional principals of the internet.

Connected to a rigged video-calling service platform, WannaScry! covertly joins every call placed on that service platform, copies complete video/audio streams of each call and projects those onto its spherical display.

While displaying contents of each video call, WannaScry! attempts to extract facial (biometric) and conversational (sentiment and context) data of those individuals participating in the call, including their geographic location. That information is then relayed visually to the audience.


Using their mobile devices audiences are invited to place video-call using WannaScry! service and witness their own images appear inside the gazing ball.

WannaScry! is currently under active development. Images seen on this page may not be fully representative of the final version of the piece.

Stay tuned for updates!