Android camera APIs must preserve facial appearance for biometrics

The latest Android Compatibility Definitions are here
Android camera APIs must preserve facial appearance for biometrics

Android camera software APIs will not be able to alter facial appearance, Google revealed in its latest Compatibility Definition Document, presumably to ensure that biometric facial recognition will work for a range of use cases, reports Android Central.

The paper, intended to set the rules for companies that want to make Android hardware, outlines a series of new requirements that must be met in order for devices to be compatible with Android 11.

The lengthy blog post examines a variety of points related to various aspects of hardware compatibility, but the most interesting one for our biometrics’ audience is the behavior for camera-related APIs.

In fact, the section C-0-12 of the paper openly states that all camera-related APIs “MUST ensure that the facial appearance is NOT altered, including but not limited to altering facial geometry, facial skin tone, or facial skin smoothening for any android.hardware.camera2 or android.hardware.Camera API.”

While the document does not expand further on this section, it is safe to assume it refers to face recognition software in relation to features such as face-unlock, where an initial image is taken by the camera and then used as a match for biometric login.

The criteria set in Google’s latest definitions are facial geometry, facial skin tone, or facial skin smoothening, all elements that help define a specific image.

However, AI cameras often use beauty filters to artificially “beautify” photos. This may cause mismatches between an original photo and a beautified version of it.

Since the old camera APIs are now officially deprecated, smartphone manufacturers will have to develop new ones that comply with Google’s latest Android Compatibility Definitions.

In order to do so, new camera APIs will have to necessarily apply these filters only after taking a photo, as opposed to doing so while capturing an image.

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