Home → Magazine Archive → July 2022 (Vol. 65, No. 7) → Using Makeup to Block Surveillance → Abstract

Using Makeup to Block Surveillance

By Esther Shein

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 65 No. 7, Pages 21-23

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Anti-surveillance makeup, used by people who do not want to be identified to fool facial recognition systems, is bold and striking, not exactly the stuff of cloak and daggers. While experts' opinions vary on the makeup's effectiveness to avoid detection, they agree that its use is not yet widespread.

Anti-surveillance makeup relies heavily on machine learning and deep learning models to "break up the symmetry of a typical human face" with highly contrasted markings, says John Magee, an associate computer science professor at Clark University in Worcester, MA, who specializes in computer vision research. However, Magee adds that "If you go out [wearing] that makeup, you're going to draw attention to yourself."


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