December 15, 2013

How to turn your face into an "anti-face" — a sight that surveillance technology cannot read as a face.

Don't imagine that sunglasses will work. You need things like dramatically asymmetrical bangs in multiple colors.

I think whatever we do, the robots will learn it and get out in front of us, but you can look quite foolish in your feeble effort to outsmart them. The linked article is more of an art-and-fashion project than a real defense against surveillance. Isn't it funny? Finding surveillance funny is perhaps the closest you can get to a defense.

32 comments:

PB Reader said...

Muslim women who wear a burka are out in front in this area.

Akiva said...

Bring back the face veil. Go full burka. Easier than this.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Or just wear the full burqa like that ghoul who kidnapped the little girl from her first grade class by claiming to be her mother, and the school did not insist on looking at her face to confirm her identity.

PB Reader said...

A Guy Fawkes mask for the guys!

Crimso said...

I think the people who lived under the Stasi coped in part through humor. And if we can't see the Stasi from here, C. Steven Tucker sure can.

John Lynch said...

Is this supposed to be serious? I'm laughing.

lemondog said...

Is Nancy Pelsoi with her frequent botoxing safe from surveillance?

pm317 said...

In grad school, one student working on facial recognition made all of us his guinea pigs -- we didn't quite know where our mugs would end up -- I later learnt, the research was funded by FBI. So my face is in some standard database used for research; saw it last in a chapter of a textbook, not singled out but one among many. It was quite an experience to see myself there -- hey, that is me!

pm317 said...

Muslim women who wear a burka are out in front in this area.

Not just the women.. men can wear it too to escape. When Musharaff raided the red mosque, the head escaped wearing his wife's burka.

Another tidbit, Indian court (may be the SC) said that Muslim women had to show their face for id cards or forgo their rights which was in this case voting.

Paul said...

If you want to trick facial recognition surveillance you must use subtle makeup to alter the points of recognition used to identify faces.

Example, high cheek bones must be camouflaged to reduce their signature. Jaws that jut out or flair must be made to appear different. Ears lowered or raised (not really but just appear to be that way.)

Do this things and facial recognition systems will fail.

Axellent said...

Why do I even need to defend myself versus surveillance from my own government!?

I would like to ask you guys a question:
How much are you willing to sacrifice for your own protection of privacy?

EDH said...

Teach your ass to chew bubblegum.

John said...

I see more and more people walking around with disposable face masks to protect against disease.

I suspect that this would make it harder to identify a person, especially if you use the biggest ones you can find.

If you take obviously artificial measures, then you will be suspicious. You shouldn't be but you will. "If you have nothing to hide, why are you trying to hide?" the cops will ask as they roust you.

Face mask? I'm just paranoid about germs.

John Henry

John said...

Axcellent had the thread winner, though.

Why do we need to hide from our government?

John Henry

campy said...

My defense is to have a face that breaks every camera that photographs me.

madAsHell said...

The looks will be tested using facial detection software and may be posted to nytimes.com/anti-face.

Calling all emo's.

Carl Pham said...

I'm skeptical. It's not hard to build a machine vision program that can distinguish among a dozen faces, or even a few hundred, and really impress the VC guys or Federal agency program directors.

But when everybody's in the database, it's much harder. I'd like to see the hardware/software combo that can produce a reliably unique signature for 330 million faces under nearly arbitrary lighting conditions.

Of course, we know one exists, because it's inside our skulls. But until we can duplicate that level of AI, I think this is going to be one of those extrapolations of technology along a straight line that turns out to be laughably optimistic (or pessimistic, depending on your point of view). Remember the fuss about human cloning 10-15 years ago? Like that.

Kylos said...

Just wear an infrared light on your hat

wildswan said...

What I love is the idea that no one will know who you are if you look like one of those people in the article: parti-colored bangs over one eye, one cheekbone marked with camouflage. "Oh yeah, I'm a total secret, the TSA screeners will never pull me aside because I'm in some database. Of course, for some reason they always do seem to pull me aside."
But if that look became the fashion ...

wildswan said...

What I love is the idea that no one will know who you are if you look like one of those people in the article: parti-colored bangs over one eye, one cheekbone marked with camouflage. "Oh yeah, I'm a total secret, the TSA screeners will never pull me aside because I'm in some database. Of course, for some reason they always do seem to pull me aside."
But if that look became the fashion ...

elkh1 said...

Cops can issue an apb on a suspect with colorful asymmetrical bangs.

Freeman Hunt said...

I hope this catches on with young people. They would look so interesting. I like it.

Freeman Hunt said...

What if you drew eyes all over your face? This could be artistically interesting.

Freeman Hunt said...

I'd like to see more wildly interesting young people clothes. Enough with the sexy and the sameness. It's time for avant garde.

Freeman Hunt said...

I do a lot of dry satire. That's not what I'm doing here. I really do like it.

MadisonMan said...

Why not wear those tiger masks so you have a face on the back of your head? Suddenly there are twice as many people around as before.

SOJO said...

In a NoCAL university town with a lot of traffic cameras, people were painting their license plates with clear (reflective?) goo that made it impossible for the detectors to read, but looked normal on the streets. They had to outlaw the goo.

Seems like that would work for a face in a form of foundation or moisturizer.

Check this Hunger Games-esque dystopian future out in an article on Camden, NJ:

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/apocalypse-new-jersey-a-dispatch-from-americas-most-desperate-town-20131211

David said...

I always kind of wondered if ye olde timey naval dazzle paint would work on a small scale (I'm pretty sure it won't). Like if I decided to be a masked vigilante, could I wear a body stocking with a crazy pattern on it to make it hard for bad guys to focus on and shoot me?

Come on, someone link this while people remember what it's about

Strelnikov said...

I know any number of people who have achieved the anti-face purely by accident.

EDH said...

Freeman Hunt said...
What if you drew eyes all over your face? This could be artistically interesting.

Must already be passe. Lady Gaga did it, Picasso style.

Kirk Parker said...

Dear gullible Axellent (and John Henry, too):

You ask why? What part of your own government did you not understand?



Freeman,

"I do a lot of dry satire. That's not what I'm doing here. I really do like it."

Wow, your satire just keeps getting drier, and more excellent!

Freeman Hunt said...

Heh.