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The Easiest Way to Disguise Yourself from the NSA

Surprising anti-surveillance methods

Anne Parsons
The Easiest Way to Disguise Yourself from the NSA© 2018 Kate Ter Haar - Flickr

Adam Harvey is an artist whose work explores the impact of surveillance technologies on us. His work addresses these issues through the use of fashion - we’ve written about his ‘Stealth Wear’ project - a line of specially designed garments that shield you from drones. Harvey’s vision is to make fashion “that addresses the rise of surveillance, the power of those who surveil, and the growing need to exert control over what we are slowly losing, our privacy.”

Aside from his Stealth Wear project, Harvey has been a leader in the emergence of anti-facial recognition make-up. His work looks at the ways you can disguise yourself from facial recognition devices through the clever use of make-up and hair.

So what you have to do is:

1. Wear Makeup

Harvey advises against enhancers which amplify key facial features. You should apply makeup to contrasts with your skin tone in “unusual tones and directions: light colors on dark skin, dark colors on light skin.”

2. Cover up your Nose Bridge

Your nose bridge is a key facial feature that must be disguised. The intersection of your nose, eyes and forehead is a facial feature that must be obscured in some way. Harvey says that this “is especially effective against OpenCV's face detection algorithm.”

3. Obscure one of Your Eyes

You have to cover up at least one of your eyes.

4. Block out The Shape of Yor Head

Best to wear a hood becasue research suggests the elliptical shape of your head can be a key indicator. 

One might argue that you would be better off putting a paper bag on your head. Indeed the irony of this anti-facial recognition make-up is its very ostentatiousness. You might be able to disguise yourself from the NSA, but you would become extremely well-known as the resident weirdo in your neighbourhood. Oh well.


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