Ricardo Dominguez describes himself an "artivist" -- a cross between an artist and activist -- and he calls his newest act of civil disobedience a "Transborder Immigrant Tool."
It's a cheap Motorola cell phone retrofitted with GPS technology. Dominguez, an associate professor of new media arts at the University of California, San Diego, hopes to get the tool into the hands of people making the treacherous crossing of the U.S.-Mexico border on the so-called Devil's Highway.
The tool, which will cost less than $30 per unit, is undergoing field testing and tweaking. Dominguez has so far collected $15,000 in grants to fund its development and rollout, and by next summer, his plan is to have churches and groups like Border Angels and No Mas Muertes distribute the phones and train users on their features.
The information in the phone will be good for only four days, and instead of a traditional triangulated GPS technology, they will use a "single-bounce" system. They will be encrypted to avoid detection by the Border Patrol and other authorities.