Facial Recognition and Wearable Technology
Facial Recognition technology has surged in the last ten years with the ubiquitous use of smartphones with their face unlocking and apps like Snapchat or Facebook to 'see what you look like in 10 years' or the current 'gender swap application'. If you had watched the 2014 documentary Citizen 4 a few years ago the data mining by the government in that documentary was truly frightening. Today, in 2020, the amount of data collection that companies gather through social media sites as well as the apps mentioned above, given away willingly by participants, makes Citizen 4 seem quaint. The Trojan Horse of apps to get users to part with their private data and participate in FR analysis is to release apps that appear innocuous but with a very nefarious intent in the end. Who wouldn't want to see what they would look like as a cute puppy who vomits rainbows, or have an instant makeover while AR butterflies flap around your face? Using this Nudge method companies mining the newest precious commodity, data, will play the Pied Piper by making parting with your private information 'fun'. With the rise of mask-wearing because of COVID-19 FR is going to have to get savvier with eye-tracking and twitter coming out with 'voice tweets' to gather more data to compile physical recognition. Aside from masks and sunglasses while not engaging with the Trojan Horse apps, how do you safeguard your personal data? Wearable tech can come to the rescue using occlusion or confusion. While obscuring your face can only work part of the time, eye tracking and infrared can subvert a balaclava-wearing individual. Anti-surveillance clothing in projects like Hyperface is working on clothing patterns like the image to counter the FR technology. Occlusion is probably less noticeable than confusion to the casual observer. For example, infrared LEDs invisible to the human eye projected from a hat onto the wearer's face could confuse the computer vision to make the wearer's face unidentifiable. Or infrared sunglasses such as the IRpair or the Phantom look just like normal sunglasses but use specially formulated lenses to absorb infrared light.
As the FR data is aggregated and collected to make more advanced recognition wearable tech can help to mitigate the loss of privacy but perhaps the best way to retain your data would be to engage with companies, like TeqMarq, who don't use your data as a commodity and to refrain from engaging with the Trojan Horse apps that steal your information, even if you do really want to know what you might look like as rainbow unicorn.