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Japanese 'Privacy Goggles' Block Facial Recognition Software

Michael Kelley

Japanese researchers have created "privacy goggles" that can thwart cameras using facial-recognition software, BBC reports.

The glasses, developed at Tokyo's National Institute of Informatics, are equipped with a near-infrared light source that confuses the software without disrupting vision.

"As a result of developments in facial recognition technology in Google images, Facebook et cetera and the popularisation of portable terminals that append photos with photographic information [geotags] ... essential measures for preventing the invasion of privacy caused by photographs taken in secret and unintentional capture in camera images [are] now required," one of the researchers, Isao Echizen, told BBC.

Echizen noted that the glasses, which connect to a pocket power supply, will be a reasonably priced alternative to  tactics such as  using heavy make-up, wearing a mask, or tilting your head at a 15-degree angle (which fools the software into thinking you do not have a face).

In September the FBI announced it was rolling out a $1 billion nationwide facial recognition software as part of an update to the national fingerprint database. The technology can match a single face from a pool of 1.6 million mugshots/passport photos with 92 percent accuracy in under 1.2 seconds.

In October we reported that scientists were working on providing police with technology that could drunk 'persons of interest' out of the crowd by creating infrared facial recognition algorithms that map the heat on the surface of the face.

The one invasive surveillance apparatus that it may not be able to obstruct is TrapWire — the widespread surveillance network that was created and is run by former members of the CIA — since the founder of TrapWire's parent company said the software "can collect information about people and vehicles that is more accurate than facial recognition."

SEE ALSO: This Is How We Know The Shocking Facts About Spy Campaign 'TrapWire' Are True

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