Anti-Face Recognition Camouflage

io9 has a repost of a PopSci article by Jeremy Hsu that definitely delights my hacker sensibilities.

Researcher Adam Harvey has been looking into reverse engineering facial recognition systems to learn whether there is dazzle camouflage that can be painted on to foil such surveillance. This is part of his ITP thesis looking into privacy counter measures.

His site is as fascinating for looking over his results so far as it is for the information he shares about how different recognition techniques work. If my concern over such systems ramps up, as they would in response to the future scenarios he paints of much broader applications beyond security, I’d definitely be willing to risk the occasional odd look and sport the suggested counter measures.

It makes me wonder about a future where doing so may also function as both positive and negative social symbols. On the one hand, activists and concerned citizens recognizing the like mind by the paint on their face. On the other, people wondering what the owner of a painted face has gotten or is about to get up to.

This make me smile, too, for the way it reminds me so strongly of the opening passages of Cory Doctorow’s “Little Brother“. In that instance, the protagonist is using a similar sort of technique to mess with gait recognition systems but the conceptual similarity is striking.

Wikileaks Protecting Sources and the Free Press, Nobel Prize Research on the Commons, and More

  • User data destroying bug in Snow Leopard
    I’ve seen this story covered several places including The Register which is fairly temperate in its remarks. The issue seems to stem from a glitch in the special handling of user data for the Guest account. Apple has finally acknowledged the issue and is promising a fix. Given how the Guest account works, I’d recommend permanently disabling it if you can.
  • Government ambassadors for citizen engagement
    Mark Drapeau shares a provocative suggestion on O’Reilly Radar. Clearly describing how informed citizens filter information through their conversational networks, what he then suggests isn’t too far removed from other notions of community outreach and building online.
  • The Guardian barred from freedom of press, info leaks anyway
    Mike Masnick has both a pretty clear description on Techdirt of the original story as it broke and the consequences of the UK trying to suppress coverage. There is also a Wikileaks story explaining the story and linking to a key report at its heart.
  • Wikileaks partner program is about protecting sources
    I guess I didn’t read the original story closely enough because I missed the key angle Mike Masnick of Techdirt points out. Namely that the distributed channels the site is looking to set up are to give journalists advanced access to leaks, access that Wikileaks will work to protect by acting as a buffer between journalists and sources.
  • Nobel prize winner for economics worked commons models
    Mike Linksvayer at the Creative Commons has an excellent write up of the work done by co-prize winner, Ostrom, that relates to latter thinking on non-rivalrous commons and some of her own work in that vein. He links to one of her papers that especially looks worth giving a read.
  • EFF warns TI to leave homebrew calculator hackers alone
    The EFF points out that this is not just an instance where they are seeking to protect owner override, but under the current DMCA exemptions, this sort of reverse engineering is explicitly allowed. Further, it looks like TI tried to base their claim solely on online discussions, not actual evidence of infringement.