How to camouflage yourself from facial recognition technology

Submitted by Freedomman on Tue, 07/13/2010 - 20:29

NEW YORK - July 2, 2010 - The day when you’ll be able to hold up your phone and identify a stranger through a viewfinder is getting closer.

Google’s Goggles, a mobile app for visual search, has a facial recognition version unreleased to the public, while Israeli startup’s technology can tag people’s faces in Facebook photos. Facebook even released a basic version of face detection last night, although it doesn’t have recognition.

So in a world where technology chips away at our ability to remain anonymous, how does one reclaim some semblance of control?

It turns out there’s actually a pretty simple way around the facial recognition technology available in the market today, according to Adam Harvey, a graduate student at NYU’s ITP (the same program that produced Foursquare chief executive Dennis Crowley and at which Twitter’s location guru Raffi Krikorian taught).

If you change the contrast in certain parts of your face - either through a watermark or by wearing a strategically placed sticker or facepaint, recognition technology can’t identify that your face is a human face.

“It breaks apart the gestalt of the face,” he said. “That’s what original camouflage was supposed to do.”

Harvey said he got his idea from studying camouflage methods use during World War I and World War II. His project, CV Dazzle, is based on the original dazzle camouflage used by the military to hide ships in the 1940s.