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This article was originally published by The Defender — Children’s Health Defense news and opinion website.
The US Intelligence Community (IC) recently launched an effort to make computerized clothing a reality — a move that critics say could lead to mass biometric surveillance of citizens and increased people’s exposure to radio frequency radiation.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) announced on August 22 that the CIA’s advanced research and development arm, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), would develop its clothing program computerized: Smart Electrically Powered and Networked Textile Systems, o SMART ePANTS – for the next three and a half years.
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The government’s SMART ePANTS program works to create clothes with “integrated audio, video and geolocation sensor systems which have the same elasticity, flexibility, profitability and comfort as normal textiles”.
Items planned for production to include shirts, pants, socks and underwear.
IARPA, in collaboration with the Naval Information Warfare Center, Pacific, awarded research contracts to develop and manufacture computerized clothing for a total of more than 22 million dollars Nautilus Defense and Leidos, Inc., according to an August 9 Pentagon announcement.
Investment giants Vanguard and Black Rock — who profited from the sale of COVID 19 vaccines and have stakes in developing technology companies vaccine passports and digital wallets – are listed among Nautilus Defense’s i Leidos‘ best investors.
SMART ePANTS program manager Dawson Cagle, Ph.D.WHO layout her inspiration for the program to a desire for better health control options for her diabetic father, said in the recent press release, “IARPA is proud to lead this first-of-its-kind effort for both IC and the broader scientific community that will bring much-needed innovation to the field of ASTs. [Active Smart Textiles]”.
An article published in January in PubMed touted the potential of e-textiles as a “new era of wearable technology for health and fitness solutions,” touting their uses in products as varied as diapers, masks, and bedding, and for applications such as “controlling health conditions, treating chronic diseases, rehabilitating and improving health and social lifestyles”.
“SMART ePANTS could revolutionize the Internet of Things by gathering data to help the intelligence, medical and sports communities.” he wrote the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association.
said Claypoole The Defender that the fabrics the IC is developing are likely “not just to keep our people safe, but also to find and track smart fabric users who don’t know they’re being followed.”
Developing smart fabrics and items for computers is not a new endeavor, he said.
In his book, “Privacy in the age of Big Data: Recognizing Threats, Defending Your Rights, and Protecting Your Family,” Claypoole and Theresa Payton traced commercial efforts to create smart clothing over the past decade, including a ski jacket with hooded headphones and devices input into the sleeve that connect to the wearer’s phone via bluetooth However, the fact that these smart wearable devices are designed by the IC is of particular concern to Claypoole:
“The technology, when used by the government, opens up a new level of intrusion that raises serious constitutional concerns. Will the government need a warrant to anonymously track people using these fabrics? It should, but that determination will be up to them. to do justice to time.”
“I wonder if any of this is legal”
“While the person who chooses to wear the computerized clothing has at least given some form of consent, everyone around that person has no say,” McCullough said. “I wonder if any of this is legal. The technology will collect biometric data from those nearby, as well as capture all audio and visual data. There are states where consent of all parties is necessary for this.”
Nicole de Haay, spokesperson for IARPA, he told The Intercept that IARPA programs are “designed and run in accordance with, and adhere to, strict privacy and civil liberties protection protocols.”
“IARPA conducts compliance reviews of civil liberties and privacy protections throughout our research efforts,” he added.
IARPA did not elaborate on how it would ensure that citizens’ privacy is not violated.
Computerized clothing likely to exacerbate the negative health impacts of EMR
Miriam Eckenfels-Garcia, director of CHD’s EMR work, noted that computerized clothing also raises potential health concerns.
“As with any new technology that’s sold as new and exciting,” he said, “there are concerns and drawbacks. We know about the negative health impacts of EMR. Having this technology so close to the body could pose additional health risks.”
In addition, Eckenfels-Garcia added: “SMART ePANTS is a step closer to the fusion between humans and technology. This technology, with its many sensors, makes you part of the internet of thingswhich is part of the World Economic Forumthe agenda of”.
Annie Jacobsen, author of “The brains of the Pentagon,” about the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agencynoted that SMART ePANTS developments could introduce disturbing new forms of biometric government surveillance.
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“Now they are in a position of serious authority over you,” Jacobsen he told The Intercept. “At TSA, they can swab your hands for explosives. Now let’s say SMART ePANTS detect a chemical on your skin—imagine where that could lead.”
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IARPA noted that the “smart” clothing could “assist personnel and first responders in dangerous and high-stress environments such as crime scenes and gun control inspections without impeding their ability to operate quickly and safe”.
In addition to running IARPA, ODNI also oversees the National Intelligence Program, which in 2022 received $65.7 billion in taxpayer money from Congress. For its 2023 and 2024 budgets, the program asked Congress 67.1 and 72.4 billion dollars, respectively. These amounts are not yet approved.
The director of the ODNI, appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the senate, serve as boss of the US Intelligence Community advising the President, the Vice President, the National Security Council, and the National Security Council on intelligence matters related to national security.
“We need an ePrivacy Bill of Rights”
In accordance with John Whitehead, civil liberties attorney and author, we have already moved to a total surveillance system. The government’s funding of computerized clothing that spied on its citizens is another example of this, he told The Defender. Whitehead said that the The FBI already collects DNA samples from citizens.
“Allegedly, the police are saying they’re doing their job to collect this information and it’s not violating the Fourth Amendment. Well, that’s a stupid argument,” he said, adding that the courts are always behind when it comes to technology. .
“Most judges don’t understand it. Most are so pro-government or pro-police that they will do anything to move [saying that it is unconstitutional].
“What we need now in this government is an electronic privacy bill of rights.”
Whitehead is working with several law firms to develop the concept of a legal document that “very clearly” protects citizens from such electronic privacy violations.
Realistically, there is no way to escape surveillance, according to Whitehead. “The only hope we have is if enough people are vigilant for freedom and we can establish some kind of e-privacy bill of rights that limits what those people can do,” he said.
“Education comes before action, so I tell people to educate themselves about what’s going on and understand it,” he added.