Data privacy issues dominate daily headlines and with facial recognition technology and surveillance cameras becoming more common than ever it seems impossible to keep anything private today.
Enter Kate Rose, founder of Adversarial Fashion, a company that aims to disrupt the collection of big data. Rose creates clothing designed to confuse red-light cameras used in speed traps.
In an interview with Yahoo Finance’s On The Move, Rose explained that she didn’t like the idea of her data being collected and the potential risk of it being used by “bad actors.” So, she created a clothing line — apparel plastered with a pattern of license plates that are designed to confuse Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) cameras.
ALPR cameras are attached to everything from traffic lights, telephone pole and toll booths. The cameras record license plates and can register 1,000 license plates per minute — tracking your GPS location, date, time and even car registration. ”And they keep them indefinitely, “ Rose said. “ So, you have these giant databases of millions of data points.“
The cameras work by trying to look out and see what might look like a license plate, so Rose created clothes with images that would not only confuse the cameras but also appeal to people’s fashion sense. The cameras register the images on the clothes as real license plates.
Rose’s website sells T-shirts, hoodies and even dresses — all with repeating images of license plates and some even bearing the words of the Fourth Amendment, citing the mandate for a warrant for search and seizure. According to Rose, her clothes are selling like “hotcakes.”
”I think it says a lot about how people today are really anxious and want to have more things so that they can personally control their data, and understand how the surveillance that they deal with in their everyday life works,” she said, adding that her goal is to encourage “citizen scientists” to use the things they have access to in their daily lives to educate themselves on how surveillance systems work.
Yvette Killian is a producer for Yahoo Finance’s On The Move.