May 28, 2024

THE doors to the camouflage clothing market have been flung open – but not for the reason you think.

Instead of trying to evade a human foe, people are buying ‘secret camouflage’ clothing to hide from facial recognition technology.

Facial recognition technology has punctured the public sphere so much, that for most, it doesn’t feel like an invasion of privacy.

In airports, most people don’t think twice about having their faces measured by cameras to make sure they match the person in their passport.

These days, live-feed CCTV cameras are fitted with live facial recognition (LFR) software which detects individual human faces.

Although it is often used against a predetermined watchlist, the tech has been accused of being ‘unlawful’ and ‘unethical’ by a number of campaigners, including a report from the University of Cambridge.

The report recommended it be banned from use in streets, airports and any public spaces – where it is used most.

The chief of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the UK’s regulator for data protection, has previously raised concerns over the tech for its “supercharged CCTV” capabilities.

One company spearheading a personal-rebellion-of-sorts against such technology is a clothing brand called Cap_able.

“The need to protect the individual from the abuse of new artificial intelligence (AI) technologies is felt more and more and the doubts about its ethical sustainability in the long term are still many,” the Italian company writes on its website.

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The capability of AI has grown a lot over the past few year, so fears over surveillance have escalated.

Facial recognition technology uses AI to gather biometric data, which is when physical attributes are used to confirm a persons identity.

However, the biometric data of people wearing Cap_able technology cannot be stored.

This is because the clothing confuses the technology so it cannot pick up biometric data like it usually can.

Cap_able patented their unique fabric in 2021 for industrial invention.

But privacy comes at a price.

The cost of a Capable garment ranges between €370 to €640 a piece (£325 to £563), before any discounts.

“Cap_able’s technology helps to safeguard privacy and the protection of personal data, defending citizens who choose to wear its garments from… intrusion into their individual life,” the company writes.

According to the UK government, the police can only use facial recognition where it is necessary for a policing purpose, which is “proportionate” and in line with human rights and equalities legislation.

A government spokesperson told The Sun: “All organisations in the UK which process personal data, including biometric data, have to comply with the requirements of the UK’s data protection legislation.

“This includes making sure that any processing is lawful, transparent and fair to the people it affects.”

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