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Privacy Technology

To Counter Widespread Surveillance, Stealth Clothing 104

In Paul Theroux's dystopian novel O-Zone, wearing masks in public is simply a fact of life, because of the network of cameras that covers the inhabited parts of earth. Earthquake Retrofit writes with a story at the New York Times describing a life-imitating-art reaction to the perception (and reality) that cameras are watching more of your life than you might prefer: clothing that obscures your electronic presence. "[Adam Harvey] exhibited a number of his stealth-wear designs and prototypes in an art show this year in London. His work includes a series of hoodies and cloaks that use reflective, metallic fabric — like the kind used in protective gear for firefighters — that he has repurposed to reduce a person’s thermal footprint. In theory, this limits one’s visibility to aerial surveillance vehicles employing heat-imaging cameras to track people on the ground. He also developed a purse with extra-bright LEDs that can be activated when someone is taking unwanted pictures; the effect is to reduce an intrusive photograph to a washed-out blur. In addition, he created a guide for hairstyling and makeup application that might keep a camera from recognizing the person beneath the elaborate get-up. The technique is called CV Dazzle — a riff on 'computer vision' and 'dazzle,' a type of camouflage used during World War II to make it hard to detect the size and shape of warships."
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To Counter Widespread Surveillance, Stealth Clothing

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  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Sunday June 30, 2013 @10:45AM (#44147321) Homepage Journal

    That's really going to go over well in August. Heat reflective clothing could be deadly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 30, 2013 @11:00AM (#44147385)

    His ideas seem practical - the IR cloaking and paparazzi-blinding ones, at least. But I think CCTV/Face Recognition is a problem that we should find a legislative solution for.

    We, as privacy-loving people, should be able to come up with a convincing argument that the cost of deploying such a network is greater than the benefit.

    We could then push to prevent the federation of wider networks (one network per police precinct, for example, so that police can still use them to prevent or prosecute crime, but noone could track movement over a whole city or whole country). Or, allow their use for investigation of crime after the fact, but not active monitoring: systems must be designed in a way that only lets them keep recordings for 48 hours and would not include any network connectivity equipment. If a crime occurs, police can go to the relevant camera and pull the tapes; otherwise, the camera dumbly continuously overwrites.

    The surveillance implementations of modern computers are a problem that needs to be addressed in as many was as possible. While legal limits are only as good as the will to enforce them, they are an important way to codify the moral problems created by cheap computers.

    As it is my pessimistic side thinks that the only way we'll have proper privacy protection is after a widespread systematic official program of surveillance against some group is revealed, and is proven to cause direct harm to that group's other basic rights and physical security. In other words, we'll only work to limit networked spy technology after it is abused, not before.

  • Re:No masks in FL (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 30, 2013 @11:16AM (#44147453)

    Not if you are an Islamic woman wearing the niqab [wikipedia.org]

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