The anti-drone hoodie which can make its wearer invisible to spies in the sky
Those concerned about the conspiratorial machinations of the state surveillance infrastructure can now swap their tin-foil hats for a more fashion conscious accessory.
A New York-based artist has designed an ‘anti-drone hoodie’ stitched from metallised material used to counter the infra-red cameras that spy drones use to spot people on the ground. It is part of a line of high-tech ‘Stealth Wear’ that can thwart cameras and block tracking signals, which has been unveiled in London this week.
Also on offer is a pouch for carrying mobile phones made from a special ‘attenuating fabric’ which blocks the signal so it can’t be tracked or intercepted by the authorities. And there is also a shirt designed with an x-ray shielding print in the shape of a heart which is intended to protect the wearer’s heart from damaging x-ray radiation.
Artist Adam Harvey, who collaborated with fashion designer Johanna Bloomfield to come up with the range, said the pieces are intended to provoke a debate about the increasing ubiquity of surveillance across society. A landmark Freedom of Information lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation last year forced federal authorities to reveal there are at least 63 active drone sites around the U.S. The unmanned planes – some of which may have been designed to kill terror suspects – are being launched from locations in 20 states and flying spy sorties across American soil.
Most of the active drones are deployed from military installations, enforcement agencies and border patrol teams, according to the Federal Aviation Authority. In the UK police forces including Merseyside Police have trialled the use of remote-controlled drones to replace helicopters to conduct surveillance that would usually be undertaken by helicopters.
It was this increased use of military-style surveillance technologies in civilian environments that inspired the 31-year-old artist to come up with with the clothing line. ‘Military technology is coming home from the war,’ Mr Harvey told Slate. ‘These pieces are designed to live with it, to cope with it — to live in a world where surveillance is happening all the time.’ He came up with the range, which also includes an anti-drone scarf, primarily as an exercise in provocative conceptual art, but the garments will also be manufactured for sale to the public.
However, due to the expensive materials used in the design of the clothing, they are unlikely to go on sale in your local Primark anytime soon. Mr Harvey, who hasn’t yet pinned down the retail prices for his garments, jokes that his target demographic is the ‘fashionably paranoid market’. The counter-surveillance Stealth Wear range is on display from today at the Primitive boutique in Great Portland Street in West London, until January 31.