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23 May, 2016 16:11

Dutch designers create anti-surveillance 'invisibility cloak' to protect private data

Dutch designers have mixed fashion with function, creating an anti-surveillance coat that makes wearers electronically undetectable. The 'invisibility cloak' makes credit cards unreadable and mobile phones untraceable.

Calling itself a 'wearable counter-movement,' KOVR is the brainchild of two designers who wanted to protect people's personal information from falling into the wrong hands.

“We started researching surveillance systems here in the city of Rotterdam, and while doing this research we found out about these so-called RFID chips,” KOVR designer Leon Baauw told RT.

He went on to explain that the chips are part of our everyday lives, installed in ID cards, passports, bank cards, and clothing labels.

“These chips contain a lot of sensitive information and we wanted to protect the individual,” Baauw said.

The answer was a coat and bag made of metal-containing fabric and reinforced with a stainless steel frame, protecting the private information of wearers by making credit cards unreadable and blocking mobile phone signals.

“Metal blocks every in and outgoing signal, protecting you from people who want to trace, scan, or hack you,” Baauw said.

Wearers waiting for important calls can, however, put their phones in an outside pocket which allows the device to remain connected to cell phone signals.

Those looking for yet another layer of anonymity can use the hood, which zips completely over the wearer's face so that the person cannot be recognized.

But while the anti-surveillance clothing is a step in the right direction towards protecting data while on the go, Baauw has stressed that the clothing does not protect against all types of surveillance.

“We focused on certain types of data retention that use radio waves found in some chips. We created a line of clothing that protects against these signals. Unfortunately, it's impossible to cover all the surveillance types within one project,” he told Metro.

Baauw says KOVR is currently in the process of creating a “first small batch of coats” out of the initial prototypes, and that it will “keep experimenting, researching, and designing products and prototypes.”