Privacy Visor Confuses Face Recognition Camera

In another blow at ubiquitous surveillance, a Japanese researcher has invented glasses that hide your face from computers. ->

"Hiding behind your glasses" just took on a whole new meaning.

At Tokyo's National Institute of Informatics, Isao Echizen, an associate professor in the Digital Content and Media Sciences Research Division, unveiled a privacy visor - a set of glasses that prevents cameras with face-recognition software from recognizing you.

Echizen designed the glasses with near-infrared LEDs placed around the eyes and the bridge of the nose, two areas that computers use to pick out faces. Near-infrared is invisible to people, but many cameras can pick it up. The lights add digital "noise" to the image and when the computer tries to match the image with ones in a database, it gets confused and is unable to complete a match.

Echizen told BBC News that the purpose is to protect people from being tagged and identified in photographs without their knowledge. The EyeSee mannequins, for example, use face recognition software to log when shoppers come in and build a database of people's age, gender or race.

At the same time, he didn't want to run into the problem of wearing a mask, which protects privacy but outside of 18th century Venetian masquerade balls, is considered a bit unusual.

Makeup could also fool face recognition software, as demonstrated with the CV Dazzle project, but that too could be problematic, since the designs are a bit outré.

Along with artist Adam Harvey's stealth hoodie, these glasses are yet another indication that people are thinking more carefully about privacy – or the lack thereof – in a connected world.

Credit: National Institute of Informatics via: BBC