Fashion designers strive for many different effects when designing clothes but few will have in mind trying to make the clothes protect the wearer from surveillance.
Adam Harvey, Brooklyn-based artist worked for years as a photographer. However, he claims that in recent years since 9/11 and the Patriot Act, cameras have stopped becoming "art-making tools" and have become "enablers of surveillance societies". Of course this is ridiculous, cameras can be used for both purposes still. Artists just like to make their points in goofy sayings at times. Harvey is certainly correct in that cameras are more and more serving surveillance functions.Harvey began experimenting with household make-up that would make it more difficult for computers to use facial recognition programs to identify people. This is demonstrated on the appended video made back in 2010 that showed off this makeup at a fashion show.At present, the US only uses surveillance drones in the US for surveillance of the border with Mexico. Most surveillance is overseas in war zones and against suspected terrorists. By 2020 however the Federal Aviation Administration expects that in US domestic airspace there will be as many as 30,000 drones. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation many law enforcement agencies across the US can hardly wait to get their own surveillance drones, some of which can “can zoom in and read a milk carton from 60,000 feet." Harvey has consequently set out to design clothing that will help shield wearers from the all-seeing eye of Big Brother's drones.On January 17, Harveywill unveil his Stealth Wear in a London Studio. The press release reads:Harvey works in collaboration with New York City designer Johanna Bloomfield. Harvey said last year:Among the items of Stealth Clothing are the Off Pocket. This is an anti-phone accessory that will instantly zero out your phone's signal. There is also an XX-shirt in which there is an x-ray shielding print in the shape of a heart that will protect your heart from x-ray radiation. Finally there is protection against drone surveillance something we will need quite soon. The anti-drone hoodie and anti-drone scarf: garments are designed to thwart thermal imaging, a technology used widely by drones.While protecting one's privacy is a good idea, an even better idea would be to roll back the invasive prying of the surveillance state. However, we can do both at once.
“Building off previous work with CV Dazzle, camouflage from face detection, Privacy Mode continues to explore the aesthetics of privacy and the potential for fashion to challenge authoritarian surveillance.”
“I think building privacy into modern garments can make them feel more comfortable and, like armor, more protected. Data and privacy are increasingly valuable personal assets and it doesn’t make sense to not protect them. It’s also a great conversation starter.”