An associate professor at Japan’s National Institute of Informatics (NII) has developed new technology capable of thwarting the increasingly ubiquitous facial recognition systems and photo-tagging on social networking websites.
Given the rapidly increasing speed of facial recognition systems, the use of facial recognition technology in applications as disparate as mannequins in retail stores and border crossings around the world and drones and even televisions, this anti-facial recognition technology could be more needed now than ever.
Isao Echizen of NII along with Professor Seiichi Gohshi of Kogakuin University developed the technology – somewhat along the lines of the “drone-proof” clothing line – to protect individuals from having their privacy invaded by photographs taken by secret cameras or photographs taken unintentionally.
“Due of the popularization of portable terminals with built-in cameras and developments in SNS [Social Networking Services] and image search technologies, information such as when and where photographed subjects were is easily disclosed via photos taken and disclosed without their permission, which has resulted in a greater need to protect the privacy of these subjects,” states a press release from NII.
The technology developed by Echizen and Gohshi uses a near-infrared light source to disrupt the camera – and thus the photograph and facial recognition technology – without affecting the vision of the individual wearing the privacy visor.
An interesting application of this technology, which will likely become more important in the near future, is the ability to thwart augmented reality applications.
Augmented reality technology coupled with facial recognition is on the rise with companies like Viewdle, (recently acquired by Google according to WebProNews) funded by Blackberry, Qualcomm, Anthem Venture Partners, Western Technology Investment and Best Buy.
Viewdle enables people to “see the world through computer vision with face, object, and gesture recognition technology products that realize the full potential of the many advanced consumer devices that are now on the market—smartphones, tablets, and other camera-enabled devices.”
This type of technology is being deployed on a variety of platforms and thus this anti-facial recognition technology will only become more important as time goes on.