Many large cities already have automatic license plate reading systems, consisting of a gigantic network of surveillance cameras and an image recognition algorithm to track drivers’ movements and make a more efficient record of traffic violations. Although these systems are effective, according to information security services experts users concerned about their privacy might resort to using a new alternative, they only need to renew their wardrobe.
Government monitoring and surveillance activities continue to grow. Last Monday, it was revealed that managers in a territory in London applied facial recognition to visitors without consent, in a clear breach of data protection laws in Europe.
A new trend was presented at a recent cybersecurity event: anti-surveillance clothing, designed by Kate Rose, a specialist in information security services and fashion designer, concerned about mass surveillance already implemented by multiple governments.
The printout of these anti-surveillance garments contains the words of the U.S. Constitutional Fourth Amendment, which protects citizens against the seizure of property and unreasonable persecution. This postulate has become an emblem for privacy advocates in the midst of a digital age. A clear example of Fourth Amendment defense occurred in 2012, when the U.S. Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional for law enforcement agencies to conduct location tracking activities without legal authorization.
What appears to be just a fashionable design actually impedes the proper functioning of automatic plate-reading systems, making surveillance efforts more difficult for governments. “The goal is to prevent the collection of personal lyre data,” says Rose. “These systems are one of the most invasive tools ever designed; intelligence agencies meddle in the most personal aspects of our lives using security as an excuse. Still, we managed to fool these systems with a piece of fabric,” she adds.
It is necessary to mention that this is not the only method developed to deceive these systems. During the same cybersecurity convention, an information security services expert presented a slightly simpler idea: Droogie, the hacker who presented the idea, mentions that the inhabitants of the cities where these systems are deployed can request a custom license plate for your car, using the word “NULL”, which is how these systems represent an invalid or empty entry.
Information security services experts from the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) mention that this trend has increased according to the excessive growth of mass surveillance systems. One of the most advanced anti-facial recognition techniques today is the use of special glasses that feature special LED lights that prevent the proper functioning of infrared lights integrated into facial recognition cameras. These glasses were strategically designed to illuminate the area of the user’s eyes and nose, making it impossible for infrared light-sensitive cameras to detect their face.