From weird makeup to glowing caps: how to hide from big brother

In 2017, a facial recognition system appeared in Moscow, which helps the police and special services to search for violators of order and serious criminals. The result of the system's work in less than two years is 90 detentions. In early September, the city authorities ordered new cameras that can perform their task at mass events. Is there a way to trick this system and keep incognito?

From weird makeup to glowing caps: how to hide from big brother

Completely cover your face in Russia is prohibited from mass events, so "masks and disguises" that can hide the appearance should not be considered as one of the options. In Hong Kong, where the same rules apply for holding mass events, protesters covered their faces with scarves and umbrellas.

From weird makeup to glowing caps: how to hide from big brother

Such improvised means can hardly be considered reliable, so many people around the world are concerned about solving the problem of masking that can interfere with recognition systems. Designers, make-up artists, programmers, scientists — who just did not take up this task. But very few have achieved success.

You might think that the most logical way to disguise your appearance from surveillance and recognition systems would be sunglasses and fake facial hair. But it was not there-modern algorithms easily recognize such tricks and determine a person by the visible parts of the face.

From weird makeup to glowing caps: how to hide from big brother

Even a face covered with a balaclava can be identified by the open areas around the eyes and mouth. The same is true with glasses — it is more than enough to recognize what is not hidden by the accessory. The experts of the Russian company Videomax, having tested the most popular face recognition program "Face-Intelligence", made interesting conclusions.

Uploading various photos taken in ideal studio conditions to the system, Videomax specialists determined that neither glasses nor a false beard with a mustache could prevent the program from recognizing a person. The system recognizes a person completely disguised as a homeless person with a probability of 51%, which is very good. It was possible to deceive the program only by drawing a Russian flag on the face — in this case, it was not possible to determine the identity.

A high-quality mask that imitates the face of another person can most likely mislead modern systems. The artist Leonardo Selvaggio has created a 3D mask of his face, which has a high photorealism. It is worth it for any person to put it on and Facebook's algorithms recognize him as Leonardo himself. Obviously, other well-known systems will also work.

From weird makeup to glowing caps: how to hide from big brother

If you want the Moscow cameras to identify you as a foreign painter and inventor, you can buy a mask from the owner for $ 299. If this is expensive for you, then Selvaggio offers to download a completely free version for printing on paper and glue Leonardo yourself. Of course, in the second case, no one guarantees a 100% result.

The American Selvaggio began working on his project when he lived in Chicago. In this city, 30 thousand cameras are watching the residents, placed in the most unexpected places. The artist did not pursue criminal goals, but wanted to draw public attention to the "racial prejudices" of recognition systems with the help of his masks.

From weird makeup to glowing caps: how to hide from big brother

In the case of video surveillance, we are dealing with racism, but somewhat unusual. Leonardo was outraged that algorithms teach recognition by the faces of white people. That is why criminals of other races are determined much less effectively. This leads to judicial errors that cripple the fate of people and allow attackers to avoid punishment.

From weird makeup to glowing caps: how to hide from big brother

The Novak art product was awarded a prize at a design competition in the Polish city of Lodz. The author does not position his creation as a tool for protection against recognition systems and does not plan to release it serially for sale.

Designer Adam Harvey has developed makeup and hairstyles that convince the system that it sees not a human face, but an inanimate object. According to Adam, the VeriLook program could not determine at all that a person was in the field of view of the camera.

From weird makeup to glowing caps: how to hide from big brother

The technique used by Harvey was commented on by Dr. Christoph Busch from Norwegian University of Natural and Technical Sciences. The scientist claims that the algorithms existing today are able to work only with symmetric standard faces.

From weird makeup to glowing caps: how to hide from big brother

If you make the eyes, nose and mouth asymmetric, then the technology will be powerless. At the same time, the scientist emphasized that the haphazard introduction of chaos into the appearance with the help of makeup and make-up products will not bring tangible results, since there are many important nuances in this matter.

From weird makeup to glowing caps: how to hide from big brother

Bakunov's method is even more profound than the one that Harvey presented, since it not only interfered with personality recognition, but could also convince the system that it was a completely different person. Grigory was so impressed by the effectiveness of his own development that he closed his project. The Russian fears that his development may be used for criminal purposes.

It would be strange if the problem of appearance recognition was not taken care of by specialists from The Middle Kingdom, which in recent years have been ahead of the entire planet in the field of high technologies. A team of scientists from Fudan University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, with the participation of specialists from Indiana University, with the support of AliBaba, created a system of infrared LEDs attached to the visor of the cap.

From weird makeup to glowing caps: how to hide from big brother

This device, powered by a battery, allows you to "light up" the face and prevent infrared cameras working in the dark from capturing it for subsequent identification. Scientists are sure that their development can also help a person to impersonate another person if a neural network is added to the system.

A special program, having scanned someone else's portrait, can project infrared dots on certain areas of the face, changing it beyond recognition. During the tests, the developers managed to convince the appearance recognition algorithms in 70% of cases that they were looking at a musician Moby.

A similar device, but not in the form of a cap, but in the form of sunglasses, was created in Tokyo National Institute of Computer Science. The Japanese light up the nose and eyes of a person with LEDs, which is enough to deceive infrared cameras. But both Chinese and Japanese developments are useless if conventional video cameras are used instead of infrared ones.

The designers of the Project Kovr company did not think much, but created a line of shiny raincoats, the hood of which completely covers the face. As a material, a metal-containing fabric is used, which offers another useful property-protection from radiation.

From weird makeup to glowing caps: how to hide from big brother

Berlin-based designer Adam Harvey, who developed masking makeup, also had a hand in creating special protective wardrobe items. Its HyperFace fabric can be used to make headbands and scarves that will help trick cameras using the visible spectrum of radiation. The fabric pattern imitates faces using patterns of light and shadow. We can say that the real face of the owner of such a scarf is lost in the mass of faces that the systems see on the fabric.

From weird makeup to glowing caps: how to hide from big brother

Designer Simone C. Niquille went a similar way, but used not spots of different colors and shades, but the faces of celebrities. Facebook algorithms, noticing a man in a Nikkil bandana in a picture, claims that he is standing in a crowd of Michael Jackson or Barack Obama.

From weird makeup to glowing caps: how to hide from big brother

Summing up our brief review, it should be said that today none of the methods guarantees protection from face recognition not only by algorithms of special services, but also by means of social networks. Therefore, despite a lot of tricks proposed by specialists of various profiles, the most effective method is a face completely covered with a dark cloth. But, alas, in most countries it is forbidden to be with a covered face on the street.

But even if the advanced system does not recognize the attacker, the experienced eye of a specialist will definitely not leave the slightest chance to escape, as happened in one of the Brazilian prisons.

Keywords: Security | Invention | Observation | Scientists

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