A ‘cloaking’ device tries to protect your photos from facial recognition programs

A ‘cloaking’ device tries to protect your photos from facial recognition programs

Curated via Twitter from NYTimes Tech’s twitter account….

A platform like Facebook adopting Fawkes would prevent a future Clearview from scraping its users’ images to identify them. “They could say, ‘Give us your real photos, we’ll cloak them, and then we’ll share them with the world so you’ll be protected,’” Mr. Zhao said.

In fact, he said his company could use images cloaked by Fawkes to improve its ability to make sense of altered images. “There are billions of unmodified photos on the internet, all on different domain names,” Mr. Ton-That said. “In practice, it’s almost certainly too late to perfect a technology like Fawkes and deploy it at scale.

If deployed across millions of images, it would be a broadside against facial recognition systems, poisoning the accuracy of the so-called data sets they gather from the web. “Our goal is to make Clearview go away,” said Ben Zhao, a professor of computer science at the University of Chicago.

The other issue is that my experiment wasn’t what the tool was designed to do, so Shawn Shan, a Ph. D. student at the University of Chicago who is one of the creators of the Fawkes software, made the changes to my photos as extreme as possible to ensure that it worked.

A team of computer engineers at the University of Chicago has developed a tool that disguises photos with pixel-level changes that confuse facial recognition systems.

Fawkes converts an image — or “cloaks” it, in the researchers’ parlance — by subtly altering some of the features that facial recognition systems depend on when they construct a person’s face print.

No such federal law is on the horizon, though Democratic senators did recently propose a ban on government use of facial recognition. “I personally think that no matter which approach you use, you lose,” said Emily Wenger, a Ph. D. student who helped create Fawkes. “You can have these technological solutions, but it’s a cat-and-mouse game.

A start-up called Clearview AI, for example, scraped billions of online photos to build a tool for police that could lead them from a face to a Facebook account, revealing a person’s identity.

In testing, the researchers were able to fool facial recognition systems from Amazon, Microsoft and the Chinese tech company Megvii. Fawkes used Mr.

In recent years, companies have been prowling the web for public photos associated with people’s names that they can use to build enormous databases of faces and improve their facial-recognition systems, adding to a growing sense that personal privacy is being lost, bit by digital bit.

That would mean a company like Clearview that scrapes those photos wouldn’t be able to create a functioning database, because an unidentified photo of you from the real world wouldn’t match the template of you that Clearview would have built over time from your online photos.

In a research paper, reported earlier by OneZero, the team describes “cloaking” photos of the actress Gwyneth Paltrow using the actor Patrick Dempsey’s face, so that a system learning what Ms.

Joseph Atick, a facial recognition pioneer who has come to regret the surveillance society he helped to create, said the volume of images of ourselves that we have already made available will be too hard to overcome. “The cat is out of the bag.

Fawkes isn’t intended to keep a facial recognition system like Facebook’s from recognizing someone in a single photo.

I then uploaded the originals and the cloaked images to Facebook to see if it fooled the social network’s facial recognition system.

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