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“Pixelhead” Masks Your Face From Google’s Roving Cameras

Surveillance chic for the fashion-conscious paranoiac, courtesy of artist Martin Backes.

“Pixelhead” Masks Your Face From Google’s Roving Cameras

Do you lie awake at night, dreading that your kisser will show up on some stranger’s screen in the background of a Google Street View image? Then you need therapy. But if you can’t afford that, Martin Backes has designed some conceptual fashion headwear to assuage your paranoia. “Pixelhead” is a full-coverage mask decorated in pixelated colors, so that if you do get caught by Google Street View’s cameras, your privacy is assured. Your outrageous headwear will likely become viral meme-fodder all the same, but that’s beside the point.


Clearly, Mr. Backes has his tongue at least partly in-cheek with his design: as he explains on his site, that pixelated pattern is actually a “fashionable” de-rezzed image of German Secretary of the Interior Thomas de Maizière. But Pixelhead is no tossed-off piece of conceptual art — created with advisement from fashion designer Liza Sander, this “media camouflage” is made from the finest stretch satin. As you can see from this photo, it doesn’t look like a terrorist mask at all. Nope, not one bit.


Photo by DE:BUG

If you feel like your commitment to upholding personal privacy in the digital age is worth getting tackled by cops wherever you go, then you can actually order a limited-edition Pixelhead from Backes by contacting him directly. You might even consider applying some anti-face-recognition makeup underneath, just for extra protection. It’ll sure make for an interesting mugshot.

About the author

John Pavlus is a writer and filmmaker focusing on science, tech, and design topics. His writing has appeared in Wired, New York, Scientific American, Technology Review, BBC Future, and other outlets.