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Dutch Designers Create Anti-Surveillance Clothing

KOVR, a new Dutch apparel brand, specialises in creating clothing that can make the wearer completely untraceable by modern tracking devices. The anti-surveillance line is made of a metalliferous fabric used to render computer chips in identification cards and credit cards unreadable, and even effectively take a phone off the grid.

Founded by performance artist Marcha Schagen and graphic designer Leon Baauw, the company focuses on how surveillance systems monitor people and their behavior. While developing the clothing line, the co-founders discovered that various surveillance systems, including computer chips the size of a rice grain, can send and receive information when placed at the right proximity.

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“Think about generic camera surveillance, but also about systems that are less visible, like microphones in trams that can record conversations,” Baauw explained, speaking to The Creators Project. “These computer chips are used in passports, identification cards, and bank cards, but also in certain pieces of clothing. For instance, I managed to scan and read my own identification card using nothing more than a simple app on my phone. Many people are not aware of the big amount of information they are carrying around on a day-to-day basis.”

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So Schagen and Baauw got together to develop a product that could potentially prevent data breaches. After experimenting with several metalliferous fabrics, the duo finally managed to produce a coat and a bag made of multiple layers of nickel, copper, and polyester, that can shield data from large corporations as well as individual hackers. “I was looking for materials that could simulate the effect of the Faraday Cage, as a system that can block signals,” Schagen said. “The next challenge was to create a lightweight and wearable product.” She also added the option of being reachable if the wearer so chooses, by adding external pockets to the coat and bag, made of regular fabric.

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With their new line of clothing, Schagen and Baauw hope to help people take control of their privacy. “People often say they have nothing to hide, that they are more than willing to trade their privacy for sharpened safety measures,” Baauw said. “But this is nonsense; everyone has something to hide. People have multiple facets to their personality, and that is completely normal. Secrets shape a person into who he is and who he wants to be.”

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If you’re interested in anti-surveillance clothing from KOVR, check out their website for more information about their products.

Photos: Suzanne Waijers/KOVR