The t-shirt that makes you invisible to facial recognition


A special technology developed by IBM, MIT and Northeastern University sends facial recognition systems into crisis: it could be an antidote to mass surveillance

facial recognition tshirt

The artificial intelligences ever smarter, the surveillance cameras increasingly defined and widespread and the big data increasingly hungry: the Facial recognition is the medium that par excellence combines all these tentacles of big brother that constantly monitors us.

All the big countries are gearing up to have the situation under control in real time, but often these valid security tools can also be exploited purely for advertising and promotional purposes.

The solution is: a system that send facial recognition on tilt. A team of researchers at Northeastern University, IBM and MIT in Boston have in fact developed a special pattern to apply to a fabric – as can be that of a t-shirt – to go to deceive and confuse the algorithm appointed to recognize the distinctive features of the face. The result will be, in effect, to become invisible. Faceless.

These systems work very efficiently because they take advantage of the way the algorithms detect faces, looking for details that allow them to be reconstructed from pre-established elements. To do this, the drawing adds substantially disturbing lines that can create chaos in the survey – which therefore does not work or works badly. In 2017, for example, an algorithm had been deceived that saw a weapon instead of a turtle.

Results as amazing as, however, disturbing. But it is undeniable that facial recognition tools for advertising purposes (which in theory show promotional content based on the preferences of the recognized person) are less efficient than government and security organs.

The t-shirt for now is only a prototype, but it is not difficult to imagine that it will be produced (or made printable from home) for real if advertisements based on facial recognition began to spread widely. On the other hand it would be a much more discreet and acceptable camouflage system than the do-it-yourself ones seen so far, like temporary facial tattoos.

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