Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fashion to thwart Facebook face recognition?

Creepy T-shirts designed to baffle Facebook facial-recognition software (Naked Security)
Image source: REALFACE web site
The garments - dubbed the "REALFACE Glamoflage" T-shirts - were designed by Simone C. Niquille as part of her* master’s thesis in graphic design at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam.

The shirts are custom-printed and sell for around $65.

The prints feature distorted faces of celebrity impersonators - Barack Obama, Michael Jackson and others - with the aim of creating an easy way to befuddle Facebook's pattern recognition algorithms...

I'm always fascinated by the responses of artists and designers to facial recognition technology.

CV Dazzle is my favorite because it is visually interesting; it really works as fashion and as an effective face rec counter-measure; and the approach stands a chance of keeping up as facial recognition technology continues to improve in surveillance applications.

REALFACE has simplicity and a more mainstream fashion statement going for it. In some percentage of attempts, it probably attracts the attention of the face-finding algorithms that are a part of automated facial recognition programs.

Full disclosure: I've never had a Facebook account so I'm making some assumptions about how it works.

Rather than a frontal attack on the face algorithm itself, it may be that best way to cause Facebook's face recognition trouble is by undermining the quality of the data it relies upon. Facebook relies upon users telling the software who is who, then applying facial recognition to prompt users to tag new photos. Users who wish to thwart Facebook's facial recognition might recognize that "garbage in; garbage out," depending on your point of view, is either a bug or a feature.

For other posts on biometrics and art click here.