Facial recognition can be thwarted by smart makeup application

Amid increased attempts to thwart facial recognition technology, which has been used by law enforcement agencies to monitor protest rallies and identify suspects of criminal activity, people have been looking for ways to maintain their anonymity. A new study from Ben-Gurion University in Israel describes how “contradictory makeup” can trick some facial recognition systems into such a way that they cannot identify individuals who have been pre-identified in a system.

In the study, researchers looked for a way to evade facial recognition that is not immune to the suspicion of human observers, such as an airport security guard, who will ask you to remove the face mask you are wearing. probably in these times. What they found is that makeup, applied in a certain way, can make a person’s face more difficult to identify.

Unique biometrics – The basic idea is that facial recognition works by identifying the subtle points that define one face in relation to another. Your eyebrows are some distance from each other and your lips may have a particular curve – these attributes make up your “facial fingerprint”. By using the mapping to identify these dots as white dots, the researchers were able to apply just enough makeup to tell the difference, so that your nose might appear narrower, for example.

A video shows the technique at work in a hallway, where a woman walks with and without makeup applied. When she walks around with her face naked, the ArcFace facial recognition model immediately identifies her as a blacklisted person. But when she comes back, with contradictory makeup applied, she doesn’t.

Admittedly, this method is labor intensive, and facial recognition technology is constantly improving. Masks remain the best option, as more sophisticated facial recognition systems have been shown to be able to see through the deception. And programs like Clearview AI work by comparing a photo with those pulled from social media, which can still return you as a match.

The state of surveillance – Facial recognition has come under intense scrutiny as it has been shown to misidentify black people disproportionately compared to other demographics, which has directly led to bogus arrests. And its use during protest demonstrations is seen as a bullying tactic, as people might fear their every move will be monitored.

Companies like Amazon and convenience store chain Rite-Aid have responded by cutting back some of their facial recognition programs, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement just announced a new $ 3.9 million deal to buy the technology and use it for “quick alternatives to detention registrations”. The contract stipulates that it will be used in detention centers for migrants, although the precise manner remains unclear.

Facial recognition has been hailed as an effective way to catch criminals, but its unregulated use is cause for concern. It might be time to invest in some makeup.

About William G. Patrick

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