Anti-NIS Accessories

Wearables to Thwart Neuro-Imaging Surveillance

A Project by Lisa Kori and Caitlin Morris, 2013

Video documentation of Anti-NIS Accessories. Camera: Marco Zanin. Anti-NIS Accessories from Caitlin Morris.

Today, closed-circuit video surveillance has become commonplace. Concurrent with its rise in ubiquity, new techniques are being developed for analysing the massive amounts of information generated. Biometric identification techniques such as FRT (facial recognition technology), gait analysis, and voice analysis are often used after an incident has taken place to try to determine the identities of the parties involved. However, now various companies are working on algorithms to detect persons acting "suspiciously" (perhaps based on activities such as running, loitering and carrying packages). We are entering a new period of algorithmic guessing of intention based on external behaviours, before an incident takes place.

New forms of neuro-imaging technology are developing that may one day allow for surveillance and interception of the contents of our minds. What if brain-scanning could be periodically deployed in a widespread and stealthy manner in urban environments, similar to CCTV now? Already our notions of civil liberties and bodily privacy are being challenged on an everyday basis, how should they be defined in the future in terms of the mind?

Anti-NIS Accessories is a series of proposed objects designed as a form of clothing that maintains privacy of thought and action.

Photo Credit: Marco Zanin

Rather than simply blocking access to the brain, which would require unsubtle and complex equipment, each piece proposes a method of momentary cognitive diversion. When a scan is detected, the accessories provoke a reaction that will demand the wearer’s attention, changing their current brain activity patterns and affording a moment of privacy through camouflage.

The three objects are a collar which nudges the wearer with a gentle electric shock, a hat with transmits sound via bone conduction, and a mask that distracts the wearer with flashing lights.

Can the purpose of clothing be expanded to serve a hybrid purpose: acting as an expressive covering of the body, and also maintaining privacy of things like emotions, intelligence, and even more specific “brain data”?

By Lisa Kori and Caitlin Morris

Wearable Futures, December 2013
Future Everything, March 2014

Fast Company: Wear These Accessories To Protect Yourself From Mind-Reading Surveillance Bots
dezeen: Headgear to thwart mind-reading surveillance cameras by Fabrica researchers
Wired: Anti-NIS Accessories, gioielli che proteggono la privacy
dexigner: Anti NIS Accessories by Fabrica Researchers
mocoloco: Anti-NIS Accessories by Lisa Kori Chung and Caitlin Morris

El País: Máscaras que borran la cara y vestidos que engañan a las cámaras: moda contra la hipervigilancia

CNET: Wearable Accessories Keep Your Thoughts Safe

Daily Dot: The new wave of wearables fighting state surveillance

Supported by FABRICA

Commissioned by Wearable Futures
For Futures 10
Ravensbourne, London, December 2013