Fashions designed to screw with surveillance cameras

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The Adversarial fashion dress, as seen by an ALPR system. Photograph: Kate Rose

Adversarial Fashion garments are covered in license plates, aimed at bamboozling a device’s databases

14 August 2019 | Alex Hern | The Guardian

Automatic license plate readers, which use networked surveillance cameras and simple image recognition to track the movements of cars around a city, may have met their match, in the form of a T-shirt. Or a dress. Or a hoodie.

The anti-surveillance garments were revealed at the DefCon cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas on Saturday by the hacker and fashion designer Kate Rose, who presented the inaugural collection of her Adversarial Fashion line.

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Rose credits a conversation with a friend, the Electronic Frontier Foundation researcher Dave Maass, for inspiring the project: “He mentioned that the readers themselves are not very good,” she said. “They already read in things like picket fences and other junk. I thought that if they’re fooled by a fence, then maybe I could take a crack at it.”

To human eyes, Rose’s fourth amendment T-shirt contains the words of the fourth amendment to the US constitution in bold yellow letters. The amendment, which protects Americans from “unreasonable searches and seizures”, has been an important defense against many forms of government surveillance: in 2012, for instance, the US supreme court ruled that it prevented police departments from hiding GPS trackers on cars without a warrant.

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But to an automatic license plate reader (ALPR) system, the shirt is a collection of license plates, and they will get added to the license plate reader’s database just like any others it sees.

The intention is to make deploying that sort of surveillance less effective, more expensive, and harder to use without human oversight, in order to slow down the transition to what Rose calls “visual personally identifying data collection”.

“It’s a highly invasive mass surveillance system that invades every part of our lives, collecting thousands of plates a minute. But if it’s able to be fooled by fabric, then maybe we shouldn’t have a system that hangs things of great importance on it,” she said.

Original Link: The fashion line designed to trick surveillance cameras

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