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Japanese firm introduces privacy visor that confuses facial recognition software


According to a report in Inverse, Japan’s Nissey Corp. is set to release a privacy visor that the company claims will scramble digital facial recognition software.

“This is a way to prevent privacy invasion through the many image sensors in smartphones and other devices that can unintentionally photograph people in the background,” commented National Institute for Informatics researcher and a visor developer Isao Echizen.

The visor allows enough light through so that you can still see, but the mesh screen blurs the light that normally reflects on your face, apparently confusing digital facial recognition software which uses unique shadow arrangements to make identifications.

The privacy visor is expected to retail for $240.

According to related media reports, Echizen explained, “Your face is the information that identifies you. It’s unstoppable once it’s leaked on the web, because you can’t change it like a password.”

In 2013, Echizen was one of two Japanese professors who designed a pair of glasses to thwart facial recognition systems, using simple near-infrared lights only visible to cameras. While groundbreaking, the technology was a little unreliable and bulky so it is hoped the new mesh glasses will help the developers get to market faster.

In March 2015 at Mobile World Congress, AVG demonstrated a prototype pair of glasses that makes it difficult for facial recognition software to recognize and take a photo of the wearer’s face. The AVG glasses also used a set of infrared LEDs around the eyes and nose areas that are only visible to digital cameras.

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