eTextiles + privacy references + precedents


This document is a starting point for a body of research around eTextiles and privacy. As a personal resource, it includes the title, author(s), link to the full document, and quotations I found compelling during a first or second read. Please note that it does not have proper bibliographical citations for every item. This list is by no means exhaustive - if you have something to add, please comment!


E-Textiles: Regulating The Future Of Fashion by Lois Herzeca

Herzeca, Lois F. "E-Textiles: Regulating The Future Of Fashion." Law360, 25 Aug. 2016, Accessed 20 Dec. 2017.

“The Federal Trade Commission addresses and enforces data privacy and security matters under its broad authority under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices affecting commerce. In 2015, the FTC released its report captioned “The Internet of Things: Privacy and Security in a Connected World,” which addresses privacy concerns surrounding physical objects that are connected to the internet, including wearable technology. The report advocates certain best practices, including: security by design (building data security into a device at the outset); data minimization (collect the minimum amount of data needed), and applying the notion of notice to the consumer, followed by an opportunity for the consumer to consent, more effectively for devices that don’t have a screen by utilizing such mechanisms as a video tutorial, QR code, or consumer profile management portal.

Some commentators have suggested that the traditional notice and consent paradigm is not relevant for devices such as wearable tech due to the small size and sophistication of these products. Instead, they argue that regulation through “use restrictions” — controlling the ways in which data can be collected, used, shared and stored — is more practical and appropriate. This is a fundamental regulatory issue which needs to be appropriately addressed in the context of smart textiles — where garments are often shared with, or used by, persons other than the original consumer.

The Internet of Things and Wearable Technology: Addressing Privacy and Security Concerns without Derailing Innovation by Adam Thierer

Adam Thierer, The Internet of Things and Wearable Technology: Addressing Privacy and Security Concerns without Derailing Innovation, 21 RICH. J.L. & TECH. 6 (2015),

As FTC Chairwoman Ramirez notes, “the difficulties will be exponentially greater with the advent of the Internet of Things, as the boundaries between the virtual and physical worlds disappear.”248 She goes on to ask a series of questions about the rise of IoT and its implications for privacy best practices:

Will consumers understand that previously inert everyday objects are now collecting and sharing data about them? How can these objects provide just-in-time notice and choice if there is no user interface at all? And will we be asking consumers to make an unreasonable number of decisions about the collection and use of their data? (note 248) (59)

For example, it is not even clear at the moment whether existing

wearable technologies and mobile medical applications are in compliance

with—or even need to be in compliance with—the Health Insurance

Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA),253 which governs the use of “individually identifiable health information held by covered entities and

their business associates and gives patients an array of rights with respect

to that information.”25 (61-2)

Enforcing privacy best practices in an age of increasing device

miniaturization means that, in many cases, it also will not be possible for

consumers to read an organization’s privacy policy because many of these

technologies will be too small to even have a display.256 Moreover, the sophistication of many of these devices and the sheer amount of data they collect make it difficult to devise a workable notice and choice regime that can foresee every possible misuse. (63)


Peppet says, “notice and choice is an ill

fitting solution to these problems, both because Internet of Things devices

may not provide consumers with inherent notice that data rights are

implicated in their use and because sensor-device firms seem stuck in a

notice paradigm designed for web sites rather than connected consumer

Goods.”260 (63)

In light of these problems, various academics, government
officials, and even private companies have suggested that it may be
necessary to move away from a policy approach rooted in notice and
choice and toward a new regime based on use restrictions. (64)

In crafting use-based restrictions, however, policymakers must exercise caution. Overly broad restraints could end up being tantamount to a de facto ban on all uses of certain IoT or wearable technologies. Moreover, policymakers must avoid converting their preferences—or the preferences of just a small but vocal group of regulation advocates—into paternalistic policies that limit individual autonomy. 273 The goal of privacy policy should not be to prevent people from making choices that

others feel are unwise.

Privacy scholar Daniel J. Solove of the George Washington

University School of Law has warned about privacy law’s “paternalism”

problem. 274 “Privacy regulation,” he notes, “risks becoming too

paternalistic. Regulation that sidesteps consent denies people the freedom

to make choices. The end result is that either people have choices that are

not meaningful or people are denied choices altogether.”275


Although some privacy theorists argue that data and data collection are not

protected speech deserving First Amendment protection,301 other scholars

recognize that restrictions on data collection are restrictions on the free

flow of information, which implicate the First Amendment. 302

 This reasoning is supported by the Supreme Court’s 2011 decision in Sorrell v.

IMS Health Inc., which struck down a state law prohibiting data

aggregators from selling personal information to pharmaceutical companies, which in turn use the data to customize their marketing pitches to doctors.303 In line with a lower court ruling, the Supreme Court found that the regulation violated the First Amendment “because it restricts the

speech rights of data miners without directly advancing legitimate state interests.” 304 The Court’s ruling means that restrictions on the sale, disclosure, and use of personally identifying information will be subject to heightened judicial scrutiny in the future. (75-76)

“Current U.S. privacy law recognizes only a very limited right of privacy in public, one that would likely not bar citizens from . . . gathering information through augmented-reality spectacles,” says Daxton “Chip” Stewart of Texas Christian University’s College of Communication.306 That will be equally true for many other IoT and wearable technologies. (76)

One solution to the privacy, security, and safety concerns raised by IoT and wearable technologies is to better educate the public about the potential downsides associated with these technologies, as well as their proper and improper uses.330 This can be accomplished with a variety of education and awareness-building efforts.331 (84)

Privacy and data security policies for IoT and wearable technology can also be governed by self-regulatory efforts. 349 Developers have a vested interest in adopting best practices and codes of conduct because “only by developing solutions that are clearly respectful of people’s

privacy, and devoting an adequate level of resources for disseminating and explaining the technology to the mass public” can companies expect to achieve widespread adoption of IoT technologies.350 (88)

“Compared to traditional government regulation,” notes FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen, “self-regulation has the potential to be more prompt, flexible, and responsive when business models or technologies change.” (89)

Industry self-regulation in this space can take the form of what isknown as privacy by design and security by design.354 These terms generally refer to efforts by developers to “bake in” certain privacy and security practices and protections as they are designing and deploying new

Technologies.355 (90)

What do privacy and security by design entail? There are several practical steps that developers of IoT and wearable technologies can take, including the following:


Defining the Sensor Society by Mark Andrejevic and Mark Burdon

Andrejevic, M. and Burdon, M. (2014) Defining the Sensor Society. University of Queensland. TC Beirne School of Law Research Paper No. 14–21.

But the notion of a “sensor society” also refers to emerging practices of data collection and use that complicate and reconfigure received categories of privacy, surveillance, and even sense-making. (2)

The term is meant, in the first instance, to refer to a world in which the interactive devices and applications that populate the digital information environment come to double as sensors. (2)

The defining attributes of this sensor society include the following: the

increasing deployment of interactive, networked devices as sensors; the

resulting explosion in the volume of sensor-generated data; the consequent

development and application of predictive analytics to handle the huge amounts

of data; and the ongoing development of collection, storage and analytical

infrastructures devoted to making sense of sensor-derived data. (2)

This logic is generalizable across the digital landscape: devices and applications

developed for one purpose generate information that can be repurposed

indefinitely. For example, the scanners that allow cashiers to enter prices more

rapidly can also be used to track the speed at which employees work; the phones

that people carry with them can collect and rely information about their location,

their communication practices, and their contacts; (3)

Homeland Security funding smart phone sensors that would turn smart phone users into "distributed mobile sensors automatically relaying data back to the DHS about air quality" (3)

// Microsoft's smart phones as mood sensors (4)

When all interactive devices can be treated as sensors, creative uses for existing

data sets can be developed and new sensing capabilities can be piggy-backed

upon existing ones. (4)

As new forms of sensing and data collection are devised these are leveraged against already

existing data troves that have accumulated over years. The sensor driven data

and its collection can be endlessly repurposed.

In this regard, sensor driven data collection is dissimilar to traditional notions of

surveillance even though sensor related collection activities bear the same

hallmarks of surveillance and monitoring concerns. (4)

Sensor-based data generation and collection can be opposed to purposeful,

routine, systematic and focused attention. Individuals are not targeted in the

conventional sense. Instead, sensors monitor populations and environments.

Data analysis of sensor-based data consequently relies on blanket coverage to

discern larger, actionable patterns and insights that can then be re-deployed at

the individual level. (5)

This highlights the additive, convergent, and intersectional character of

surveillance inherent in sensor-based data acquisition. As new sensors come

online, the data they capture can be added to existing databases to generate new

patterns of correlation. The goal is not to follow or track a specific individual, per

se, but to capture a specific dimension of activity or behavior across the

interactive, monitored space – to open up new data-collection frontiers (mood,

gait, typing patterns, preferred browser, etc.) in what Andrejevic (2007) has

called “the digital enclosure.” This type of monitoring gives new meaning to the

notion of focused monitoring: not exercised upon a particular individual per se,

but upon a specific dimension or register of activity. New sensors open up new

dimensions of the population, environment, or ecosystem. (5)

Unlike the surveillance society, the purpose and justification for monitoring in the sensor society can come after the fact. With that in mind, we outline the concept of the sensor society and its

implications in the following sections. (5)

The sensor society records details about the information capture and recall

process itself, registering the fact that a piece of data has been stored and tagged.

Consequently, the sensor society remembers how it remembers which again

leads to the combined proliferation of new sensors and data. This in turn fuels a

tendency towards the self-generating automation of the self-remembering

processes of sensor-driven data collection, information analysis, and predictive

Response. (9)

It should come as no surprise that, from a privacy perspective, the process of

meta-datafiction erodes the concept of information privacy and the laws that

flow from the concept. At the heart of information privacy law is personal

information, otherwise known as personal data or “personally identifiable

information.” If information is not classed as personal information, information

privacy law will not apply. (Schwartz and Solove, 2011) What is or is not

personal information is therefore a threshold question which explains the

importance of meta-datafication for its proponents. If ideational or content can

be reconstituted as meta-data then potentially information privacy laws may not

apply. (10)

Because the sensing process is not discrete, but continuous, and because the target is not a particular individual or moment but what might be described as a defined dimension (and any event that takes place in that dimension), the data accumulates indefinitely. In broader terms, the

additive goal behind the proliferation of sensors can be understood to be the digital replication of entire populations and environments enabled by a variety of different but inter-connected infrastructures. The logic of targeting in the sensor society shifts: individuals are not singled out for prescribed monitoring for a specified purpose. Rather they are treated as pieces of a puzzle. All of them must be included for the puzzle to be complete, but the picture is not of them or

about them, per se, but about the patterns their data forms in conjunction with that of others. In the sensor society, the target is the pattern and the pattern is always emergent. Hence the need for accumulation and aggregation of not just all existing data but all new data as any new piece of data will help to generate a new target pattern and thus fulfil the purpose of the infrastructure’s goal.

Conventional understandings of privacy as control over one’s self-disclosure and

self-presentation are complicated by this reconfiguration of targeting towards

patterns rather than people and especially by the emergent character of pattern

generation. The turn toward automated forms of predictive analytics means that

it is, by definition, impossible to reasonably anticipate the potential uses of the

information one discloses. (16)

The sensor society looks beyond the ephemeral construct of ‘Big Data’ and leads us to

critically question the power structures behind infrastructural creation,

development and implementation. Ultimately, therefore, the sensor society is about a complex dispersion of power inherent in the newly developing sensorised processes of life. (17)


Do Artifacts Have Ethics? By Michal Sacasas

//Not read yet

Data for life: Wearable technology and the design of self-care by Natasha Dow Schüll

The idea of a self limited in its capacity to keep track of, digest, or parse its own data

emissions calls to mind the figure of the “dividual” introduced by the French philosopher

Deleuze in 1990, just as digital information and communication technologies were coming

into widespread use. Dividuals, he argued, were endlessly subdividable collections of data

points; they were not subject to the architectural enclosures, institutional arrangements and

postural rules of disciplinary societies (as described by Foucault) but, rather, moved through a

networked Web of continuous monitoring, assessment and modulation – technologies of

“control society” (Deleuze, 1990). The scenario he sketched a quarter of a century ago bears a

striking resemblance to the tracking-intensive world of today, in which the bodies, movements

and choices of citizens and consumers are ever more seamlessly monitored and mined by

governments and corporations (Cheney-Lippold, 2011). “It’s a constant pipeline of data

streaming in from consumers”, commented a participant in the Digital Health Summit. (10)

It should be noted that personal data streams can be bought, sold, transferred and mined for insight in comparison with those of others, and in this sense holds value as a kind of bioeconomic capital or “biocapital” that government-sponsored researchers or multinational corporations can harness and exploit (Rabinow and Rose, 2006, p. 203; Beer and Burrows, 2013; Lupton, 2014; Till, 2014).

[Thaler and Sunstein] define the nudge as a way to guide consumers to healthier decisions by reframing rather than constraining their choices, leveraging free choice through the design of “choice architecture” (Thaler and Sunstein, 2008). The nudge is a curious mechanism, for it both presupposes and pushes against freedom; it assumes a choosing subject, but one who is constitutionally ill equipped to make rational, healthy choices.18

Self-regulation in sensor society by Natasha Dow Schüll (Talk at Data & Society)

Fascinating insight into what people want from their wearables from an anthropologist who studies self-tracking technologies. I know this appears to be a talk we've all heard before, but I think it's worth the watch. It is a profoundly insightful look into a (mostly) mainstream narrative about what people think/want(?) from technologies that are intimately connected to our bodies. If the story is mostly focused on regulation with sensors as servers of maintenance or thermostats, how can that provide insight to craft more compelling poetic narratives?

The Body - Politics Re-conceives The Body

//have not read yet


Postscript on the Societies of Control by Gilles Deleuze

The disciplinary societies have two poles: the signature that designates the individual, and the number or administrative numeration that indicates his or her position with a mass.

We no longer find ourselves dealing with the mass/individual pair. Individuals have become "dividuals," and masses, samples, data, markets, or "banks."

The disciplinary man was a discontinuous producer of energy, but the man of control is undulatory, in orbit, in a continuous network.

...what counts is not the barrier but the computer that tracks eache person's position - licit or illicit-and effects a universal modulation. (7)

What counts is that we are at the beginning of something (7)

Data Privacy, Design And More With Maggie Orth Interview from WEAR Conference 2015

The dark side of wearables: How they're secretly jeopardizing your security and privacy by Teena Maddox

Great article about privacy

"If you want to be considered an individual and not just a data point, then it's in your interest to protect your privacy." Josh Lifton

"Information stored on wearable devices doesn't go away"

"The information that's contained on your wearable ... is worth ten times that of a credit card on a black market." Gary Davis

Manufacturers are not building security into their products at the outset

What Is Privacy? by Daniel Solove

What is privacy? This is a central question to answer, because a conception of privacy underpins every attempt to address it and protect it.  Every court that holds that something is or isn’t privacy is basing its decision on a conception of privacy — often unstated.  Privacy laws are also based on a conception of privacy, which informs what things the laws protect.  Decisions involving privacy by design also involve a conception of privacy.  When privacy is “baked into” products and services, there must be some understanding of what is being baked in.

Privacy is a product of norms, activities, and legal protections.   Privacy is about respecting the desires of individuals where compatible with the aims of the larger community. Privacy is not just about what people expect but about what they desire. Privacy is not merely an individual right – it is an important component of any flourishing community. Privacy is valuable to a community because it provides space for individuals away from the constant impingement of the community. Without this zone of freedom, the community can become oppressive and stifling to people’s freedom and welfare.

From The ethics and risks of urban big data and smart cities

Survey of main challenges (security and privacy) in wireless body area networks for healthcare applications by Samaher Al-Janabi, Ibrahim Al-Shourbaji, Mohammad Shojafar, Shahaboddin Shamshirband

//not documented

Data Privacy Playbook For Wearables And IoT (2015)

According to Motti and Caine's study, "Users' Privacy Concerns About Wearables: Impact of Form Factor, Sensors, and Type of Data Collected," the privacy concerns about wearables are similar, but in some cases more specific, than privacy concerns about mobile devices. It also shows that users are aware of the potential privacy implications, particularly during data collection and sharing. Users' privacy concerns are related to the ability of the wearable device to sense, collect, and store data that are often private, personal, or sensitive, and then share these data with unknown or unethical parties.

Security Report: How safe is your quantified self? by Mario Ballano Barcena, Candid Wueest, Hon Lau

//have not read


DATA BROKERS: A Call for Transparency and Accountability by FTC

May 2015

The Internet of Things: Privacy and Security in a Connected World 4 an FTC Staff Report


Highly referenced by Thierer


The Cloud and Other Dangerous Metaphors by Tim Hwang and Karen Levy

What’s more, metaphors matter because they shape laws and policies about data collection and use. As technology advances, law evolves (slowly, and somewhat clumsily) to accommodate new technologies and social norms around them. The most typical way this happens is that judges and regulators think about whether a new, unregulated technology is sufficiently like an existing thing that we already have rules about—and this is where metaphors and comparisons come in.

These metaphors overwhelmingly draw from the natural world and the processes we use to draw resources from it; because of this, they naturalize and depersonalize data and its collection. Our current data metaphors do us a disservice by masking the human behaviors, relationships, and communications that make up all that data we’re streaming and mining. They make it easy to get lost in the quantity of the data without remembering how personal so much of it is. And if people forget that, it’s easy to understand how large-scale ethical breaches happen; the metaphors help us to lose track of what we’re really talking about.

Metaphors and Big Data by Sara Watson

Metaphors are helpful for understanding abstract concepts that, because of their complexity or scale, lie beyond our human comprehension. In their seminal work Metaphors We Live By, Lakoff and Johnson describe the conceptual metaphors that help with “referring, quantifying, identifying, setting goals, and motivating actions” for an abstract concept such as inflation. Given its ephemerality and abstraction, data is ripe for metaphoric description.

It is no wonder individuals continue to believe that they have “nothing to hide” in the face of big data, because we do not have the cognitive context to grasp how behemoth corporations use data. The dominant industrial metaphors for data do not privilege the position of the individual. Instead, they take power away from the person to which the data refers and give it to those who have the tools to analyze and interpret data. Data then becomes obscured, specialized, and distanced.

//Textile metaphors in computing applied to big data

We need a new framing of a personal, embodied relationship to data. Embodied metaphors have the potential to bring big data back down to a human scale and ground data in lived experience, which in turn, will help to advance the public’s investment, interpretation, and understanding of our relationship to our data.

Data as a byproduct

The rhetoric around data has granted it too much agency and authority, “with enough data, the numbers speak for themselves.” Personification in metaphor has the ability to transfer agency to inanimate subjects and affects our ability to make decisions about them. Tying data back to individuals, even at the metaphorical level, could change how we design the systems that manage it and policies that protect it. What kind of accountability and responsibility do the default designs of systems have to the subjects of the data? What visibility do individuals have into the flows of their informational agents across an interconnected system? What control do we have over making sure our data accurately reflects our interests?

How we think about data—and more importantly what we do with it—will depend on the value systems that our conceptual metaphors capture and reify. Reframing metaphors for data in a more personal and embodied context will give us a better way to think of ourselves as information organisms, or “inforgs,” as philosopher Luciano Floridi suggests we are becoming. Our data profiles will act on our behalf, and we must be able to interact with and grasp their agency. Embodied data metaphors put more control in our hands as individuals, capable of interpreting and intervening in our own personal data management.


The Wearable Life 2.0 Connected living in a wearable world by Price Waterhouse Cooper

Part of the Consumer Intelligence Series

Good primary source on what the consumer market is reading. Not enough documentation on methodologies of data collection. Results feel skewed.

Data From Your Clothing Could Soon Earn You Digital Currency Thanks To This Blockchain Integration by Rachel Arthur

The idea is that the three parts operate concurrently in an ecosystem that allows users to collect their own data and sell it on to brands and consumer research firms. The result would be a form of digital asset, or what’s being called Loomia Token, that users earn in return for sharing their data. Those tokens would then be exchangeable in a marketplace for other items – discounts or perks, much like a reward points scheme would operate.

LOOMIA’s Groundbreaking Blockchain Technology Adopted by Traditional L.L.Bean by Muchaneta Kapfunde

Google + Levi’s First Smart Jacket is a Wash by Nick Statt

What happened to Wearables and Where are They Going



Seismic strives to shape human potential through a new integration of apparel and robotics we call Powered Clothing™.

Uses soft robotics to basically create exoskeletons for the elderly.

Located in Menlo Park, CA; Meg G works there

To include:





The Handbook of Textile Culture by Janis Jefferies, Diana Wood Conroy, Hazel Clark

Weaving: Cognition, Technology, Culture

Yet, weaving, and its necessary prerequisite, spinning, are ancient human activities, possibly older than the cultivation of grains and the domestication of animals. Like other human crafts, they developed out of human interaction with the material world—the exploration, experimentation, problem-solving, innovation, improvisation, and predicting about

the environment that humans must do in order to survive.

"intertwining of bodily skill and cognition is indicated by the deep embedding of textiles into our conceptual language" (3)

Losing the Thread by Virginia Postrel

Short history of textiles + technology

The Invention of Craft by Glenn Adamson

The idea of craft as we think of it today is made up post-industrial revolution as a tool of colonialism.


The „essence of an artifact‟ mentioned above can seem a bit abstract and intangible, but if we look at traditional craft artefacts, it is clear that these products fulfilled something more in our lives than our present day gadgets and products.

Non gadgets or Craft objects creates a personal attachment that is based on personal significance.

It is this intangible essence of traditional textiles, the narrative it carried, that made it such an integral part of culture and community – it enabled one to transition through the multiple narratives of society. These narratives and myths embedded in craft artefacts were part of a

collective mythology that the community lived by [2, 5]. When the world outside – economy, technology, environment etc. was changing, the anchor for a community was in the myths they believed. These were embedded in their fabrics to carry them through the worldly shifts [2, 6].

Craft served a far deeper purpose than functional and decorative, the essence of these textiles was its ability to not be bound by time and space, it enabled the creation of memories, gave identity and context. It allowed room for transitions and change and were anchors in a shifting

landscape. The ability to transcend the physical through myths and the slowness in the making and use of craft artefacts could be some of the missing ingredients that our soul and senses are longing for.

Craft calls for two of the scarcest resources of our society - time and attention. When we
interact with craft artefact we are aware of this and value craft highly because the product is a result of resources that we highly value and wish we had more of. Smart textiles craft can help us to reflect on our times, to create new narratives and myths that allow us to shift between the ever increasing changes in our lives due to the influx of information and the increase in speed.

Smart textiles has the ingredients and potential to be far more than functional fabrics as examples in the field show us. By exploring smart textiles in the light of traditional textiles we can regain the essence of textiles. This can be done by developing smart textiles into a craft in its own right, producing work that calls for deeper skill and knowledge that enables one to create memories, meaning and value as well as be a tool that allows one to oscillate between the states that our society and self demands of us. We can do this in collaboration with traditional artisans, each sharing their body of collective tacit knowledge and sensibility. Smart textiles artefacts should enable us to transition between the fast and slow, physical and virtual, intellectual, spiritual, material and immaterial - satisfying both our soul and senses. It should facilitate the creation of meanings and memories through the symbiosis of traditional craft knowledge, craftsmanship and new technology.

A Computational Model of Knitting by bitcraft

In Praise of the Humble Knot by Jody Rosen

Garments of Paradise by Susan Elizabeth Ryan (2014)

Most comprehensive history of WT with a very strong thesis and POV.


Wearable technology—whether a Walkman in the 1970s, an LED-illuminated gown in the 2000s, or Google Glass today—makes the wearer visible in a technologically literate environment. Twenty years ago, wearable technology reflected cultural preoccupations with cyborgs and augmented reality; today, it reflects our newer needs for mobility and connectedness. In this book, Susan Elizabeth Ryan examines wearable technology as an evolving set of ideas and their contexts, always with an eye on actual wearables—on clothing, dress, and the histories and social relations they represent. She proposes that wearable technologies comprise a pragmatics of enhanced communication in a social landscape. “Garments of paradise” is a reference to wearable technology’s promise of physical and mental enhancements.

Ryan defines “dress acts”—hybrid acts of communication in which the behavior of wearing is bound up with the materiality of garments and devices—and focuses on the use of digital technology as part of such systems of meaning. She connects the ideas of dress and technology historically, in terms of major discourses of art and culture, and in terms of mass media and media culture, citing such thinkers as Giorgio Agamben, Manuel De Landa, and Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. She examines the early history of wearable technology as it emerged in research labs; the impact of ubiquitous and affective approaches to computing; interaction design and the idea of wearable technology as a language of embodied technology; and the influence of open source ideology. Finally, she considers the future, as wearing technologies becomes an increasingly naturalized aspect of our social behavior.

Computation and Technology as Expressive Elements of Fashion by Elise Co

Role of clothing/garments - protection, expression, and communication



Knitted Radio by Irene Posch + Ebru Kurbak

The Knitted Radio is an installation piece that manifests how to knit a sweater that is also a FM radio transmitter. The tactile centerpiece is a functional electronic object knitted out of ordinary wool and commonly available conductive materials. The accompanying knitting instructions, to be published in a knitting magazine, allows the reproduction of the electronic object by an alternative maker group.

Hacking the Body by Kate Sicchio and Camille Baker

Embodisuit by Rachel Freire and Sophia Breukner

A collaboration between Rachel Freire and Sophia Brueckner, the Embodisuit allows its wearer to map signals onto different places on their body. It both critiques and offers an alternative to current trends in wearable technology. Most wearables harvest data from their users to be sent and processed elsewhere. The Embodisuit flips this paradigm. Informed by embodied cognition, the suit instead receives signals from an IoT platform, allowing the wearer to map personally chosen signals to modular haptic actuators on the body. Knowledge is experienced ambiently without necessitating the interpretation of symbols by the conscious mind. The suit empowers wearers to reconfigure the boundaries of their selves, strengthening their connection to the people, places, and things that are meaningful to them. Furthermore, we hypothesize that by changing the way people live with data, it will change the type of data that people create.

x.pose by Xuedi Chen and Pedro G. C. Oliveira (2014)

x.pose is a wearable data-driven sculpture that exposes a person's skin as a real-time reflection of the data that the wearer is producing. In the physical realm we can deliberately control which portions our bodies are exposed to the world by covering it with clothing. In the digital realm, we have much less control of what personal aspects we share with the services that connect us. In the digital realm we are naked and vulnerable.

MIC JAMMER by Allison Burtch

When we begin to wear sensors embedded into our clothing, what new data will be collected?

not about the individual data, but aggregate to discern patterns and redistribute back to individual

"Information stored on wearable devices doesn't go away"

"The information that's contained on your wearable ... is worth ten times that of a credit card on a black market." Gary Davis

Manufacturers are not building security into their products at the outset

Unfit Bits by Tega Brain & Surya Mattu

Who are you really working for when you work out? The information your Fitbit collects about you is not only valuable to you alone. Your doctor or insurance company may like to know when you skip the gym or take the lift instead of climbing the stairs. In fact, some insurance companies already offer discounts if you agree to share your Fitbit stats with them. And, in the future, the cost of your insurance will most likely depend on this kind of data about your footsteps and heart rate.

Now you can free yourself from the pressure of always having to be active with Unfit Bits. Clip your Fitbit to a metronome, a drill, a bicycle wheel or a pendulum and generate valuable fitness data without lifting a finger.

Body Politic Exhibition, Open Gallery, Boston 2017

What we wear transforms us. From hats and jackets to perfumes and dresses, we envelop ourselves intimately. The world knows us first through the regalia we choose to offer. And in turn, our habits and self-perceptions are conditioned by our garments.

Our artists have produced speculative fictions, ritualistic artifacts, and “technology solutions.” Together they encourage us to reclaim a sense of power that the world appears at times intent on denying us.

Still: we trust objects at our peril. Body Politic reminds us there are no shortcuts to disrupting the status quo or remedying feelings of loneliness. Our responsibility is to recognize that temptation, and build inclusive communities through civics rather than gadget-making alone.

— Laura Zittrain For Body Politic, 2017

Facial Weaponization Suite by Zach Blas

Facial Weaponization Suite protests against biometric facial recognition–and the inequalities these technologies propagate–by making “collective masks” in workshops that are modeled from the aggregated facial data of participants, resulting in amorphous masks that cannot be detected as human faces by biometric facial recognition technologies.

Adjust Opacity, Interview in DIS Magazine with Zach Blas

Yeah, I like to think about what it means to collectivize the face in data in connection with social movements and masked protest. Pussy Riot, the Zapatistas, Black Blocs, and Anonymous all use masks for collective consistency. That’s what’s amazing about looking at the Pussy Riot Solidarity protests, for example, because they’re all wearing a certain style of mask, and it gives them aesthetic consistency as a group. So I decided to take this idea very literally: What would it mean to create a mask that a collective, or group of people, could wear, based on the aggregated data of their faces? The abstract result is important because I never wanted to average the data and get a “normal” face. The mask, as a collectivizing process, produces excess, which moves to a weird, amorphous place.

The face has always been a site for articulating human ethics and responsibility, but the inhuman quality of these masks greatly affects peoples’ behavior and engagement. But the mask isn’t just hiding a face, it’s styling the body. There’s something positively transforming about the mask. It can make you invisible to surveillance, but it also transforms you through style.

Idoru() by Afroditi Psarra

is an interactive sound performance that explores wearable technology and the body as an interface to control sound. The project wishes to address issues of body augmentation through the use of electronic textiles, creating an enhanced hyper-body, that generates useful data, that can be translated into frequencies and thus, generate an interactive soundscape. The system model, is a hybrid between the biological body and its technological augmentations, that without being pervasive to the body itself, allows the performer to extend its biological capabilities, though the use of subtle technologies. Conceptually, the project is influenced by cyberpunk literature as described by William Gibson and the japanese AI performer Rei Toei in his 1996 novel “Idoru”. Idoru, is a female virtual entity, that manifests herself only through her performances, creating this way a unique and personalized experience for her audience. Likewise, the Idoru performance is about creating an artificial entity, that comes to life through sound, body and space exploration, with the intention to create an immersive environment for herself and the public.

Quantified Epopee by Martin de Bie and Audrey Briot

The last project that i did was a knitted tapestry called "a knightly gram"  with Audrey Briot. This project was questioning our position with social network, the privacy of our data, what we put public on this platform and what can be done with it. It a general topic already explore by many artist, but behind that we are also looking after technical process of embed data into textile.

DATA KNITTING by Arjen Mulder (2002)

Essay published on V2 website


Smart Textiles with Blockchain — A Match Made in Heaven by Jagmohan Singh Sekhon

Fairly thorough history of etextiles from a futurist blockchain perspective

Users’ Privacy Concerns About Wearables: impact of form factor, sensors and type of data collected by Vivian Genaro Motti and Kelly Caine

***Limited to head and wrist mounted devices

Similarly to ubiquitous and mobile computing, in wearable computing, privacy is

one of the main challenges yet to be solved [Sta01a]. Not only because wearable

computers are able to sense, process and store intimate information about the users,

but also because wearables are able to do it continuously and discreetly [Sta01b].

Besides this, currently, users cannot fully understand the potential risks, threats and

implications involved with data collection and tend to underestimate those. However

the data collected often enable to infer private information, especially when combined

with other data, which can result in significant risks to the users’ privacy [Rai11].

The analysis of the online comments, revealed 13 users’ concerns about wearable

privacy. These concerns are closely related to the type of data each device collects,

stores, processes and shares. Embedded sensors, such as cameras and microphones,

capture data about the individual user or people nearby, often without their awareness

or consent. These data are oftentimes personal, confidential, and sensitive, which

poses privacy challenges, for instance regarding surveillance. Other sensors, such as

heart rate monitors, glucometers and activity trackers, are often considered by users as

involving fewer privacy concerns

From the analysis of the users’ concerns in wearable privacy we note that several

factors affect the privacy concerns among users. These include: the nature of the data

collected, their respective levels of confidentiality and sensitiveness, ability to share

and disclose the information, and also potential implications (social, criminal, etc.).

The findings indicate that privacy concerns are not necessarily unique to one specific

device or form factor, but are intimately related to the sensors embedded in the

device and the respective data collected. We found that devices that include cameras

and microphones resulted in more and more extreme privacy concerns, followed by

devices with GPS and displays. Activity trackers that monitor heart rate, steps, and

pulse for instance, are usually seen as inoffensive to the users’ privacy, however it is

likely that users are not aware of how such data could be misused by third-parties or

potential privacy implications when the data are collected in a long term or associated

with complementary information

Human-Data Interaction: The Human Face of the Data-Driven Society

Simply providing visualisations of data is a starting point, and a well-studied topic within HCI. However, even this can pose problems due to the scale of data involved as Quantified Self app developers have found when presenting the large, detailed, rich data collected about aspects of a single individual

One possible avenue is to engage with artists in attempting to make these very abstract concepts (data, algorithm, inference) legible to users. Early attempts, e.g., Tangible Souvenirs4 or Sweat Atoms (Khot, 2013), have proved promising. Indeed, it is in this context, specifically Embodied Interactions, that we see first use of the term “Human-Data Interaction” of which

we are aware (Elmqvist, 2011; Cafaro, 2012). In his epilogue reflecting on the original book on embodied interaction, Dourish clarifies that tangible computing “by no means defines or sets the boundaries of embodied interaction or embodied analysis” (Dourish, 2013), and extending this route of enquiry to interaction with data may well prove fruitful.

Empowering us to become aware of the fact and implications of collection of our personal data is a beneficial first step. However, putting people at the heart of these data processing systems requires more: we require agency, the capacity to act for ourselves within these systems.

In this paper we have presented our conception of Human-Data Interaction (HDI) in terms of three core themes – legibility, agency, negotiability – in the context of our evolving data-driven society. We believe that there is a strong case for the treatment of HDI as a distinct topic due to the importance of ensuring that people remain the first consideration of a datadriven

society, and the breadth of disciplines it draws on. While addressing the challenges of HDI will require a range of expertise from computer science (notably security and privacy, human-computer interaction, information systems), it also involves psychology, economics and law. Identifying it as a topic in its own right helps to ensure that it can draw on all these

disciplines but is not the sole purview of a single one.

Data Souvenirs

In this paper, we explore the value of personalised tangible data souvenirs as a bridge between the physical, personal experience of the visit and the digital online experience of staying engaged with the museum. We define personalised tangible data souvenirs in the context of a museum experience as specific material representations of individual visiting paths: the visit is dynamically recorded by logging information such as where the visitor is at particular points in time and what exhibit he/she is attending to. These data are then processed to create a tangible embodiment of this personal experience. The data are the digital shadow of the physical experience, and the tangible data souvenir can be used to access a personalised online space that displays the visit against the whole exhibition and enables visitor contribution.

Sweat Atoms

SweatAtoms is the first prototype, in the series of prototypes that explores material representations of the physical activity to enrich the experience of being physically active.


In this paper, we introduce palatable representations that besides improving the understanding of physical activity through abstract visualization also provide an appetizing drink to celebrate the experience of being physically active.


Internet of fabrics, soft things

//the (emotional?) data we share

Developing new data sets by constructing own wearable sensors

//thinking speculative futures

Always go back to craft. Craft is political.

Looking to the past to craft the future. When all of technology becomes dehumanized, go back to the textiles.

Soft data

//bridging woven data with big data - but why? Personal data sets?

The number of fucking references to craft in computation and data is STAGGERING. A google search is damn near impossible.

//could do a whole project on this


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