FACEBOOK, A COMPANY that's historically been quite big on facial recognition software, has found a way to trick it. And this isn't by wearing novelty glasses or otherwise messing with your carefully planned look. In fact, Facebook has found a way to do it with both pre-recorded video and live streams.
According to VentureBeat, the system works by altering facial features in a small way that's barely noticeable by human eyes but confuses the hell out of facial recognition software. It's done in real-time by our old friend machine learning. You can see an unlisted video of it in action here or just gawp at the screengrab at the top of the page if time is of the essence.
The question is why Facebook is doing it, given the company told VentureBeat it wasn't currently planning on incorporating it into any apps. The paper certainly has a way of making it sound like a boon for humanity, and one in the eye for privacy haters, though.
"Face recognition can lead to loss of privacy and face replacement technology may be misused to create misleading videos," the paper explains, hinting at some use in combating the creepy world of deepfakes, too.
"Recent world events concerning the advances in, and abuse of face recognition technology invoke the need to understand methods that successfully deal with de-identification. Our contribution is the only one suitable for video, including live video, and presents quality that far surpasses the literature methods."
That's all very well and good, though given the company is currently being sued for misuse of facial recognition technology, it would be nice if literally anybody else had come up with the research paper. Still, beggars can't be choosers, and it's nice that a tiny bit of the company's Scrooge McDuck-style piles of money are being used to try and restore a little bit of privacy for future generations. µ
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