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'Faceless Recognition System' Can Identify You Even When You Hide Your Face ( 55

schwit1 quotes a report from Motherboard: By itself, the ability to instantly identify anyone just by seeing their face already creates massive power imbalances, with serious implications for free speech and political protest. But more recently, researchers have demonstrated that even when faces are blurred or otherwise obscured, algorithms can be trained to identify people by matching previously-observed patterns around their head and body. In a new paper uploaded to the ArXiv pre-print server, researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Saarbrucken, Germany demonstrate a method of identifying individuals even when most of their photos are un-tagged or obscured. The researchers' system, which they call the "Faceless Recognition System," trains a neural network on a set of photos containing both obscured and visible faces, then uses that knowledge to predict the identity of obscured faces by looking for similarities in the area around a person's head and body. As for the accuracy of the system, "even when there are only 1.25 instances of the individual's fully-visible face, the system can identify an obscured face with 69.6 percent accuracy; if there are 10 instances of an individual's face, it increases to as high as 91.5 percent."
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'Faceless Recognition System' Can Identify You Even When You Hide Your Face

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  • who is that (Score:5, Funny)

    by zlives ( 2009072 ) on Monday August 08, 2016 @05:32PM (#52667693)

    who is that masked man!!!

    if only we had the this tech available in all the superhero movies...

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Monday August 08, 2016 @05:40PM (#52667733)
    the new number of the beast
  • I applaud their efforts, even though I'm a little horrified at the lengths to which we'll go in our quest to remove anonymity.
    While I'm sure there are good uses this can be put to, I wonder if any of the researchers questioned whether this was really a good idea...

    Now, if this system was capable of identifying the person responsible for {insert bad corporate act(s)} through the corporate veil well enough for them to be meaningfully punished, that would be incredible!
  • I wonder how this works with a large pool size.
    Sure, it might be able to spot "Bob Smith" in a crowd if the only data it has is several shots for "Bob Smith" and maybe 10 others. How about when it has to store data on a few thousand or million people. I think at some point accuracy goes out the window as it mistakes "Bob Smith" for any of the other million or so users it has data on.

  • the kaonashi recognition system.
  • Maybe not ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BarbaraHudson ( 3785311 ) <barbarahudson@ g m a i> on Monday August 08, 2016 @05:55PM (#52667817) Journal

    These are all pictures where the person was not trying to modify their appearance to be able to hide in plain sight. Temporary collagen injections (or even just some padding inside your cheeks), using tape (hidden under a wig) to raise the eyebrow arch vertically, or stretch the eyelids horizontally, some padding to give yourself dumbo ears, use of makeup to alter the appearance of facial bone structure via shading and highlighting, making the nose narrower using dabs of crazy glue to stick parts of the nasal septum together ...

    Enough differences, and the identification will fail.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      The next big contractor sell is to offer to generate 3D representations from any 2D face image.
      Facial expressions, poses and lighting become less of an issue. Turning away or looking up/down will not prevent the cheaper, newer 3d systems from getting a more correct match at around 10 million matches per second.
      Thats great for any building security and anyone detected outside with a camera.
      The next step is to build in tracking for any new face that should have worked, e.g. face on, good lighting. Wh
      • In a system where everyone is supposed to match someone, all a disguise will do is cause the system to present the closest match, even if it's wrong. No problem.
        • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
          The face alterations will only pass until systems catch up with height, gait or can search deeper into other live databases.
          Eg the person is logged at work in another state as their gov, mil, federal, state ID shows, should not be walking around in another state at that time. Been detected driving a car into or out of another city, walking around in another city in the past half an hour...
          Been passed as a very random person far away will not be much use as the shared location tracking gets better.
          • Even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle knew how to defeat gait. Just put a small pebble in your shoe. Or wear shoes that are too large, or too small. By altering your posture in subtle ways, you can vary your height by 2 inches easily. Even your apparent sex can be changed either temporarily or permanently, eliminating 50% of all possible matches in one shot.

            Any system we can devise, others can devise ways of defeating. Remember those Windows 95 install screens saying that this newest system was immune to viruses? Th

            • by houghi ( 78078 )

              Remember that this goes for both ways. They are working on defeating you, while you are trying to defeat them.

              However they will be winning, just because they can have false positives and false negatives, you can however NEVER ever have a true positive.

              And it will often just try to check if you are the person that you tell you are, so that would mean two identities. One where you walk when you are you and one with a pebble, where you are not you AND you must never mix those two up in any way.

              Remember how kat

              • Even if they get a positive, all it will do is be positive on the identity you are displaying, not your other identity. So what? That's what you want.

                Anyone in the process of transitioning from one sex to the other will at one point be maintaining 2 identities. The latest stats are 3 per 1,000. Do you see that many? No, and you probably get a lot of false positives, same as the people who were shown pictures of three XX women and three Trans women, and asked to pick out the trans - and got it wrong almost

  • by romanval ( 556418 ) on Monday August 08, 2016 @05:59PM (#52667831)

    Pretty soon computers can be programmed to identify people by their behavioural norms -- such as walking gait and other body language.

    • Or their gps location of their phone.
    • Being borderline Aspergers/autistic, that's actually how I identify people - by their body shape, the way they move, and the clothes they tend to wear. I was able to identify a friend walking on the opposite side of a soccer stadium simply by the way he walked. I can usually identify people from behind as well. At a winter party, I surprised a my friends when I was able to pick out most of their jackets and coats correctly from the big pile as they were leaving.

      In contrast, I have a really tough time
      • Prosopagnosiac reporting in. Your experience sounds very similar to mine. Just a week or so I was at a house playing Shrek on some TV channel. Almost straight away I said 'that's Minsc'. Once your ability to recognise people based on features goes (or was never there) the mind does some amazing tricks to keep the social animal functional. Like you say, gait is very important. Vocal tone also (and it works whenever you aren't in line of sight). And though it sounds stupid, I tend to recognise friends passin
        • And sorry for wall of text, don't post here that often and am not used to whitespace being diverted to /dev/null.
  • That's good enough. Take the shot.

  • Look, WW II methods still work. Change clothing, reversible clothing, alter stride (the ministry of silly walks was actually based on real deep cover training), dazzle face paint, minor changes in cheeks, nose, chin, etc.

    They just want you to think they can spot you.

    And, yes, hoodies work. Best are backscatter hoodies with team logos that change.

    Hats also work.

    Facial recognition has a high failure rate in real world ops.

    Anyone that tells you otherwise is trying to sell you a bill of goods.

    • They're telling me (and everyone) to try to sell it to a few people (FB, TLAs, etc.). It's like lie detectors. They have to convince everyone it works to sell to their customers.

  • From Robocop: "I had a guaranteed military sale with ED 209 - renovation program, spare parts for twenty-five years... Who cares if it worked or not."

  • By itself, the ability to instantly identify anyone just by seeing their face already "creates massive power imbalances"
  • 91% success is impressive performance, but it maybe isn't that useful for, eg, spotting suspects on CCTV footage. For example, the London Underground carries nearly 5 million passenger journeys per day. 9% of that is 450,000. So, if we are talking false positives, nearly half a million non-suspects for humans to check every day. To put it another way, it's several non-suspects to check in every single carriage of every single train during peak times. This is why global surveillance often isn't a very good w

After all is said and done, a hell of a lot more is said than done.