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Ross: Surveillance might be the next arms race

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

I’m sure security cameras do a lot of good helping to quickly track down criminals, but now that they’re being used more and more to track regular people, they’ve spawned a counter-surveillance movement.

I saw a piece in The Seattle Times about a company called Reflectacles, which will soon be selling anti-surveillance glasses.

The lenses block the infrared light used by night-vision cameras so that the details of your eyes are invisible, and the frames reflect the infrared light, so that all the security camera sees is a head flashing a pair of blinding light beams. No face.

It reminded me of the raincoat that ruined our Christmas pictures. My son-in-law got one of those super-reflective white raincoats. Every time I took a flash picture with the iPhone, all we got was the coat. No face, no background, just a waterproof ghost. It may not keep him dry, but it’ll certainly keep him anonymous.

Have you seen the anti-surveillance T-shirts with a crossword-style checkerboard patterns that supposedly make the computer think it’s seeing dozens of faces? It’s not 100% effective, yet. But you see what’s happening? This is the next arms race.

The surveillors versus the surveilled.

We are evolving into a very weird species. We’re either on social media desperately trying to become stars or we’re out in public desperately trying to vanish.

Now we know how Meghan Markle feels.

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