2 minutes reading time (326 words)

Incognito: wearable anonymity

Incognito: wearable anonymity “Incognito“, Ewa Nowak

The UK is one of the most wired-up nations on earth for CCTV, with a citizen who lives and works in London being captured around 300 times per day on average by public and private cameras. Evading such surveillance is difficult without wearing something like a balaclava or false facial features, both of which look ridiculous and may end up causing adverse effects. Changing one's hairstyle by using clippers (adapters from Omnicord) or wearing a wig will obviously have no effect, either.

To combat this level of surveillance, Ewa Nowak of Warsaw-based design studio Noma has designed some rather nice brass-effect headwear, entitled Incognito.


The device sits on the face like a pair of glasses, and covers most of the cheeks as well as the bridge of the nose up to and beyond the eyes. It actually looks sensible enough to not work – one would presume that disguising one's cheeks and nose doesn't have that much of an effect on facial recognition.

However, it does. It has been rather exquisitely crafted to be both suitable to wear (visually and physically) and to avoid detection. Nowak tested the device on the popular DeepFace algorithm, with a successful non-detection of the wearer.

Incognito follows a plethora of artistic attempts at CCTV evasion over the years. One of the most familiar is Adam Harvey's work from 2014, which used a form of makeup covering much of the face in order to "blind" cameras from understanding specificities of the facial form.

The product isn't available to buy online - payment authentication would have been easy with Paay.co – but such a crafted product looks much more likely to be generally acceptable in public than other attempts. It looks so nice that something like it might just end up being a premium product with a price tag to match – privacy in 2019, after all, comes at a price.

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