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.