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How to Outsmart Facial Recognition Software

Written By Jason Stutman

Posted June 19, 2013

The way I see it, we have just two choices, and neither of them are all that great.

The first choice is this: Accept and remain susceptible to facial recognition software, giving away yet another piece of the dwindling freedom we may have left.

The second choice is only slightly more appealing: Look like complete and total idiots.

Facial Recognition Makup

Just look at those people and try to tell me the world isn’t going down the crapper. This is apparently what we have to look like now in order to protect our privacy.

Let Me Explain…

CV Dazzle is an independent project that aims to provide camouflage from computer vision. By dressing people like absolute buffoons, CV Dazzle is able to prevent facial recognition software from spotting targets.

I simply cannot help burying my face in my palm.

But makeup isn’t the only way to camouflage yourself – you have a choice in how stupid you want to look.

facial rec glasses

Now, this one might not look as bad, but trust me – it’s even worse.

The glasses pictured above were developed by Japan’s National Institute Informatics and prevent facial recognition from cameras. The device works by projecting light from 11 near-infrared LEDs, ironically attracting the attention and judgment of every single person in the room.


It’s natural to ask why these measures are necessary. You’d think a simple pair of sunglasses would do the trick. But unfortunately, that’s just not the case.

Regular sunglasses do not prevent computers from recognizing faces – facial recognition software relies on a wide array of data points and can detect when a person is wearing standard head gear such as hats or glasses.

Of course, you could go as far as wearing a mask all the time, but that would also make you look out of place for 364 days out of the year. Not to mention, wearing a mask in public is illegal in many states.

So unless you plan on staying in your house or wearing a burqa for the remainder of your life, these might actually be the only options you’ll have to avoid having your location and emotions recorded into some company or government database.

Facing Reality

Unfortunately, facial recognition isn’t going anywhere and is far more advanced than most people think.

The technology is able to track movements, automatically tag pictures, pull names from databases, and target ads based on your emotional state. MIT has even developed social coaching software that provides feedback on users’ social cues during simulated dates and interviews.

Many people are also not aware that Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) keeps a biometric database on each and every one of its users. With the NSA admittedly peering into Facebook’s data, this is incredibly alarming.

And as much as I might want to run facial recognition straight into the ground, any such efforts would prove completely futile.

But you know what they say about about life giving you lemons…

Whether you choose to dress your face up like a clown or to hand over your natural rights to privacy, you can still reap some benefits either way.

The recent rise of privacy issues like this has spurred development within the cyber security industry. As a result, we have seen a trend of increased valuation for several companies.

I’ll identify a few right here.

cybersecurity players

Companies like Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ: SYMC), IntraLinks Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: IL), and Raytheon Co. (NYSE: RTN) are reaping the benefits of an increased demand for informational and cyber security.

These companies have one important thing in common: They offer some form of service in biometric detection. This area ranges from facial recognition, to fingerprinting, to iris realization.

Cars, homes, offices, and electronic devices can all potentially be unlocked using biometrics. Advertisements can also be tailored to consumers by recognizing who they are and what they like.

And while that all might seem like something out of the movie Minority Report, the technology is already here. I recommend enjoying the lemonade.

Turning progress to profits,

  JS Sig

Jason Stutman

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