Face Jam: Evade Facial Recognition

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Face Jam: Evade Facial Recognition
This article appeared in Make: Vol 72. subscribe to Make: magazine for more DIY projects and tips.

Hey, hey you… see those little black domes on the ceiling? On the light posts? They’re everywhere. They’re watching you. And they’re smart enough to know exactly who you are.

Facial recognition is the reality nowadays, used broadly at events and concerts and even in the check-in line at CES. If you want to keep some semblance of anonymity in your life, we’ve put together a few options here that you can don. But be warned: Surveillance technology is secretive and algorithms are continuously tweaked, so there’s no guarantee these will keep you perfectly private. And most will draw more attention to you than going without.

Camera Confusing Crowd Patches

EAVISE research students Simen Thys, Wiebe Van Ranst, and Toon Goedeme demonstrate that an image of a crowd held close to a person can counteract a person-detection algorithm, rendering someone “invisible”. Shirts with their crowd images on them can now be found, as we saw at Maker Faire Shenzhen last year. You can get their code at gitlab.com/EAVISE/adversarial-yolo.

Insane Clown Posse Makeup

For those who have participated in the Gathering of the Juggalos, it turns out your homage to the face makeup worn by Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope will help you confuse standard facial recognition programs, as deduced by Twitter user Tahkion. It won’t, however, let you slip past three-dimensional systems like those on the newest iPhones.

Blinding Glares

With their IR-attuned reflective materials, Reflectacles (reflectacles.com) are glasses said to render cameras incapable of seeing their wearers’ faces in day or night. Probably the most discreet option, if they work as advertised.

Ol’ Fashioned Hood and Bandana

The most basic yet effective way to avoid facial recognition, especially if you conceal your eyes with sunglasses. But looking like a bank-robbing bandit (/super stylish maker) sure can be suspicious — and possibly even dangerous.

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Mike Senese

Mike Senese is a content producer with a focus on technology, science, and engineering. He served as Executive Editor of Make: magazine for nearly a decade, and previously was a senior editor at Wired. Mike has also starred in engineering and science shows for Discovery Channel, including Punkin Chunkin, How Stuff Works, and Catch It Keep It.

An avid maker, Mike spends his spare time tinkering with electronics, fixing cars, and attempting to cook the perfect pizza. You might spot him at his local skatepark in the SF Bay Area.

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