How to Be Invisible: 15 Anti-Surveillance Gadgets & Wearables

Stealth Wear Anti-Drone Clothing by Adam Harvey


Even if you manage to hide your fingerprints and your face, you can still be spotted by heat-seeking drones from above, right? Not when you’re wearing one of these garments by New York designer Adam Harvey. The lightweight ponchos and burka-like head and body coverings reflect heat in all the right places to avoid detection.

CCD-Thwarting LED Umbrellas


This umbrella by the Sentient City project is studded with infrared LEDs only visible to CCD surveillance camera systems, which typically recognize human figures via light sensitivity, essentially making you a surveillance saboteur in service of the greater good. Your movements with the umbrella confuse the cameras, training them to recognize nonhuman shapes and patterns.

Anti-Neuroimaging Surveillance Headgear




The next stage of invasive surveillance technology goes much further than just identifying you as you pass – it can potentially read your thoughts. Neuroimaging devices for political purposes are already in development in the US and UK with an absence of any ethical oversight, so we may not be far from a reality in which machines can figure out our intentions (ostensibly to prevent crime.) This series of headpieces by Italian design center Fabrica subverts the process via electric shocks and flashing lights, forcing the wearer to think about something inconsequential to maintain their own privacy.

KOVR Anti-Surveillance Coat



In the same way that a tunnel can cut off signals to your cell phone, this coat by Dutch design firm KOVR keeps passing devices from reading sensitive information you might be carrying on your phone, ID or credit cards via RFID and NFC chips. Made of metalliferous fabrics, it literally creates a shield around you body to block signals. If you want to be able to receive texts and calls, you simply put your phone in a special pocket on the outside of the garment.

Backslash Toolkit




Backslash is a toolkit made by NYU Interactive Technology Program researchers to aid protesters facing a “hyper-militarized” surveillance-wielding counter-force, like SWAT teams. Its contents include a ‘smart bandanna’ with a digital print that contains secret messages in its patterns, which are unlocked depending on the way in which you fold it, as well as a short-range personal jammer, a panic button that notifies others in your group to let them know they’re entering an unsafe area, a smart spray-paint stencil to warn against surveillance, a personal router for creating offline localized connections and a ‘personal blackbox’ for vital data. It’s not available for sale, but rather intended to spark dialogue about maintaining personal rights in a world of constantly advancing (and increasingly violent) dissension-suppressing technologies.