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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.

Listen to the Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5-9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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