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Hacking the surveillance state
January 4, 2012 8:35 PM   Subscribe

CV Dazzle is camouflage from computer facial recognition.

How to hide from machines: The perilous life of glamour under surveillance.
(Related, but much earlier.)
posted by dunkadunc (67 comments total) 48 users marked this as a favorite

 
I find my tin foil hat does a pretty good job of taking care of this problem.
posted by HuronBob at 8:41 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


If glam rock makeup is outlawed only outlaws will be glam rockers.
posted by The Whelk at 8:44 PM on January 4, 2012 [24 favorites]


Ooh I likey. Both as art project and a neat element for cyberpunk fiction to work with. (All cyperpunk is fiction, right?)
posted by yellowbinder at 8:46 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


You'd have to be a lad insane to paint your face like that...
posted by Ian A.T. at 8:48 PM on January 4, 2012 [11 favorites]


All cyperpunk is fiction, right?
It's mostly documentary now, though some of it is already historical fiction.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:50 PM on January 4, 2012 [27 favorites]


i could totally rock that look.
posted by sexyrobot at 9:00 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


William Gibson was right.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:03 PM on January 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


What is with all of the odd Second Life avatars in the photo? Doesn't this only work on actual cameras? Couldn't they find enough people willing to do this, and thus had to make up avatars?
posted by Canageek at 9:08 PM on January 4, 2012


The spies of the future will be glamorous.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:08 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not cyberpunk. If it were cyberpunk everyone would wear micropore surgical masks or simply get facial surgery with vat grown shark cartilage implants.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:14 PM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:20 PM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm not talking about 'cyberpunk' per se, but rather the 'future is here, just not well distributed' idea.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:32 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Adam Harvey is one of my very favorite artists.
posted by fake at 9:44 PM on January 4, 2012


You won't dazzle the Martian checkpoints.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:59 PM on January 4, 2012


Relevant Gibson Tweet with reference to Spook Country, dated April 10.
posted by craniac at 10:09 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I get you, I am just waiting patiently for some vat grown eyes or something. Also a row of sockets on the back of my skull for the skill chips.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:12 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's incredible to me is that these are clearly faces to my monkey brain, but the computers just don't get it. I guess we're further from true recognition software ( and natural language processing, come to think of it) than I had imagined.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:14 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know, if it were me, I'd just wear a hat.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:16 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I keep thinking about that image of Mohamed Atta snapped by an ATM camera, just before he led the attack on 9/11, and what a wasted opportunity for terrorism that was.

C'mon. If you know you're about to board a plane and kill thousands of people, you could really, I mean really, scare the shit out of more people if in your last picture you're wearing a clown mask or something.

Boring terrorists.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:20 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are deep structures in the brain to identify faces, that is the reason we see faces in everything from toast to phones. That phone looks nothing like a face but it still looks like a face!

I saw a few examples of facebook picking up faces where there are none, and asking people to identify wrinkles in drapes and random clutter that looked vaguely face like , computers raw getting there.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:22 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


The software won't see your face, but you'll stand out in a crowd to human observers.
posted by longsleeves at 10:37 PM on January 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yes, paredolia an effect of our overly zealous pattern-finding wetware. Reading up on this makes me want to paint my face up and try and fool facebook's recognition software. I wonder if the standard 'heighten the lows, lower the highs' technique would work, or if I'd have to go with an outline-breaking style.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:37 PM on January 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


So when your mother clucked "Get your hair out of your eyes so we can see your pretty face!" she was a Tool of The Man in more ways than one. Who knew?
posted by gingerest at 10:44 PM on January 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Finally, an explanation for the Insane Clown Posse.
posted by quarsan at 10:49 PM on January 4, 2012


NSFW (naked woman -- other than a mask! -- at the "How to Hide from Machines" link)
posted by pracowity at 10:50 PM on January 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Now I know how to dress my cat so we don't have this problem anymore.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:07 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Next up: gait recognition makes the ministry of silly walks a reality.
posted by weston at 11:16 PM on January 4, 2012 [10 favorites]


In the future, we will all look like Lady Gaga!
posted by JauntyFedora at 11:18 PM on January 4, 2012


Oh man. Asymmetrical face fashion to fool ubiquitous security technology is the kind of bonkers sort of thing you expect to read in a Grant Morrison comic but damn, the concept in practice in some of these stills looks like hiring Morrison meant cutting back on the artist's fee.
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:31 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Big Girl Paintings are starting to make more sense.
posted by at the crossroads at 11:33 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Related: Deceiving Authorship Detection Tools to Maintain Anonymity Through Writing Style & Current Trends in Adversarial Stylometry
posted by finite at 11:54 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Now I know how to dress my cat so we don't have this problem anymore.

Just tell Jeff not to pout so much.
posted by pracowity at 1:32 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


It would be far easier to convince him to paint his face.
posted by louche mustachio at 2:04 AM on January 5, 2012


It seems pretty inevitable that in cities like London facial recognition is going to be deployed on a wide scale and tied into national identity databases. It's just a matter of time before the computing power is cheap enough... Even if you disguise yourself, as soon as you do anything which validates your identity (for example, going through a turnstile with your credit-card-paid oyster card) your image can be tied to your identity and tracked (with gait tracking, for example).
posted by beerbajay at 2:09 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I had a conceptual idea of how Open CV's face detection worked, but it was still surprising actually seeing it in the video on the first link. I understand that the selection of regions has been optimised using learning algorithms, but I'm curious as to how much of the actual decision making about each region has been developed algorithmically. Do the humans who made it understand why it works?
posted by lucidium at 3:25 AM on January 5, 2012


It seems pretty inevitable that in cities like London facial recognition is going to be deployed on a wide scale and tied into national identity databases. It's just a matter of time before the computing power is cheap enough... Even if you disguise yourself, as soon as you do anything which validates your identity (for example, going through a turnstile with your credit-card-paid oyster card) your image can be tied to your identity and tracked (with gait tracking, for example).

Probably not London, as the UK no longer has a national identity database to tie into.
posted by Jehan at 3:40 AM on January 5, 2012


"4. Remain inconspicuous
For camouflage to function, it must not be perceived as a mask or disguise."

Then, just about every one of their examples fails to do that.

Also, the monstrously-long eyelashes would pretty much preclude any activity that requires seeing. Giant sunglasses would seem to be a more functional approach, but there's no magazine article in that.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:22 AM on January 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Brilliant, but as soon as becomes relevant it will be outlawed. Same as hanging lots of jingle truck bling to obscure your license plate nowadays, you'll just get pulled over and forced to explain yourself. The thing is to blend in with the crowd and behave in statistically inconspicuous ways, same as in the beginning of Cryptonomicon when they had those fake missions in WW2 so the Germans wouldn't find out that Enigma had been cracked.

tl;dr: Neal Stephenson, not William Gibson
posted by Tom-B at 4:23 AM on January 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Yes, paredolia an effect of our overly zealous pattern-finding wetware.

Tell the Daily Mail so they can start a campaign to expose all the paredoliphiles and their finding-faces-in-clouds filth.
posted by panboi at 4:27 AM on January 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Probably not London, as the UK no longer has a national identity database to tie into.

This is not true, at least as far as the intelligence services go.
posted by jaduncan at 4:34 AM on January 5, 2012


CV Dazzle is camouflage from computer facial recognition.

Seems like it would be easy for a computer to isolate instances of this. And since the person has entered into a public space of their own free will, they should have no legal right to privacy in this manner. So the computer will alert the authorities, who will dispatch one of the ground based drone robots to bring the suspect in.

Or another human being will recognize what they're doing and report the person to the Quad Copter Police.

The makeup is nice though.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:39 AM on January 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is not true, at least as far as the intelligence services go.

I accept your point. In the absence of good knowledge of what intelligence agencies do, or what they have access to, I'm happy to limit my point to overt government use. Intelligence agencies could be already be tracking lots of people in lots of ways, but you'll go mad thinking about it: there lies tinfoil hats. But otherwise, there's no need to single out London or that city's transit swipecard.
posted by Jehan at 4:54 AM on January 5, 2012


The thing is to blend in with the crowd and behave in statistically inconspicuous ways

Humans are easily-manipulated enough for this kind of makeup to become part of mass culture. No one bats an eyelash at seeing someone with tattoos, facial piercings, or purple hair these days, for example.
posted by Ritchie at 5:19 AM on January 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


For camouflage to function, it must not be perceived as a mask or disguise."

Then, just about every one of their examples fails to do that.


Oh, I dunno. A lot of the hair dye and hair-in-the-face styling is highly reminiscent of the styles that were popular when I was in high school.

Much of the paint could be frequency specific, and be 'one color' in the visible spectrum, if the tech still requires either UV or IR lighting, or coherent light.

Or another human being will recognize what they're doing and report the person to the Quad Copter Police.

Yeah, this would be a problem.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:20 AM on January 5, 2012


Off-world problems.
posted by Flashman at 5:46 AM on January 5, 2012 [9 favorites]


This made me think of PKD's Scramble Suits in A Scanner Darkly.

What about adding more noise to the system? Hooded sweatshirts with faces on the back, for example. Or, some sort of plastic surgery augmentation that changes facial geometry along key recognition points often - tiny balloons that inflate and deflate at random.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 5:54 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is fantastic. I love the future.
posted by empath at 5:57 AM on January 5, 2012


I'd get a body suit like this DOOM texture.

Actually, that'd be kinda cool regardless of the state of surveillance.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:36 AM on January 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is waiting to be turned into a device for a near-future dystopian sci-fi story.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:56 AM on January 5, 2012


William Gibson was right.

Tom-B, Gibson wrote about a "Sigil of Invisibility" in Zero History (it was a t-shirt, not face makeup) - also, in the same novel, he mentioned Dazzle camouflage used to obscure a floating camera platform (like yesterday's office shark). COINCIDENCE?
posted by zomg at 7:11 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sheesh, whatever happened to a good old fashioned ski mask?
posted by Bovine Love at 7:26 AM on January 5, 2012


How Not To Be Seen
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:49 AM on January 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


London is using Facial recognition today, they were working on it for the Olympics, but 'activated' their system after the recent Riots.

I also read about some level of government in China doing this, a couple years ago. where they could enter someone's name or ID number and instantly get the last location they were spotted in on camera.

It's fairly obvious if you've been paying attention that stuff like this is out there. I even ran across an academic paper about some research department in Europe working on software like this - not facial recognition but automatically analyzing all the video from surveillance cameras to find 'anomalous' behavior. They problem is, there are cameras everywhere, but they don't stop crime because no one is watching them. So the purpose of this AI was to try to detect when crimes or other weird stuff was happening, and alert someone.

They even had it setup to generate 'narratives' from the video (which seemed superfluous to me)

In theory, computers could simply use more computational resources to detect faces that have been 'dazzled'. Eventually they could be as good, or better, then humans. However, it may be that with millions of cameras, they won't have the resources to emulate the entire human visual stack for every camera, every time.
posted by delmoi at 8:23 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


London is using Facial recognition today, they were working on it for the Olympics, but 'activated' their system after the recent Riots.

It's not realtime. It's not connected to a national identity database. It's not that useful because rioters wear scarves and hoods.

The police didn't even have reference fotos for the people they wanted to track, and had to cadge them from other people.
posted by Jehan at 8:36 AM on January 5, 2012


Could be used as a decoy, you can be sure that any software worth a damn would "track" faces it can't recognise.

So have a friendly Bowie impersonator walk 15 paces ahead of you at all times.

Oh, and give them your phone.
posted by fullerine at 8:37 AM on January 5, 2012


So have a friendly Bowie impersonator walk 15 paces ahead of you at all times.

Regardless of the effect on camera tracking, I'd sign up for this service.
posted by rokusan at 8:45 AM on January 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


You'll believe the strangest things .....hiring the Bowie impersonator.
posted by The Whelk at 8:47 AM on January 5, 2012


"So how come you got caught?"

"I don't like to talk about it, but let's just say Tin Machine can fuck right off"
posted by fullerine at 8:59 AM on January 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


So have a friendly Bowie impersonator walk 15 paces ahead of you at all times.

There is a guy in St Louis that has been rockin this look for years, probably since the 80's, Tory Z Starbuck. Thanks to this post for reminding me to look him up on facebook.

I was really amused the other day, playing with the Happy Shutter iOS app. It uses face detection to wait until everyone in frame is smiling, and then takes a picture. As processing power continues to grow, this sort of technology is going to keep pace.
posted by nomisxid at 9:50 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


only outlaws will be glam rockers

Watch out Billy
The brain police are coming
Watch out Billy
They're coming beside you Billy

But you won't fool
The children of the Revolution
No you won't fool
The children of the Revolution
Nah Nah Nah
posted by Twang at 10:52 AM on January 5, 2012


Surprised no one has mentioned Las Vegas, where the casinos have been doing facial recognition for a while now.
posted by sarah_pdx at 10:59 AM on January 5, 2012


That Wired article sarah_pdx linked is excellent. A lot of the best Las Vegas customers aren't too keen about being looked over, so their system has a protocol that if they identify you as a criminal or a cheater or a known card counter they track you and if they do not identify you as such they ignore you. "No match, no memory."

So there is a spectrum of Big, Bigger, and Biggest Brother and the worst case scenario might be far fetched.
posted by bukvich at 11:32 AM on January 5, 2012


Me and a friend were just talking about developing a IR LED system that would create glare and bright fuzz around a person's face in camera images. It wouldn't work on all cameras but we're just in the beginning stages.

...

Not that I would ever use a system to hide my identity, great American comrades. Privacy is Exploitation! War is Peace!
posted by fuq at 11:38 AM on January 5, 2012


fuq: it's been done and it works. go for it!
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:51 AM on January 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


nomisxid: I can't believe there is someone else on here who knows who Tory Starbuck is...
posted by hototogisu at 12:03 PM on January 5, 2012


Another anti-surveillance device.
posted by homunculus at 12:33 PM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


What happened to the classic, always-in-style, basic brown paper bag?
posted by BlueHorse at 4:28 PM on January 5, 2012


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