back to article Boffins craft perfect 'head generator' to beat facial recognition

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Informatics have defeated facial recognition on big social media platforms – by removing faces from photos and replacing them with automatically-painted replicas. As the team of six researchers explained in their arXiv paper this month, people who want to stay private often blur …

  1. James 51

    Nice one. Will there be an app for this?

    1. Spanners Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      @James 51

      Will we be able to trust the provider of such an app or service?

      1. James 51

        Re: @James 51

        Just a photo of someone who runs facebook or google, put it in and see what happens.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nice one. Will there be an app for this?

      Why do you ask? Not thinking of "fixing" those blurred reader's wives submissions to grumble websites?

  2. Anonymous Coward


    Getting perfect 'head' is always better than 'beating it' yourself...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well...

      dunno if I'd want to agree with that if it was a fuzzy head, we all have our kinks though I suppose!!

  3. Mage Silver badge
    Paris Hilton


    I look forward to a plugin for The Gimp. (Silly name, but never mind, package is much better than it used to be).

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A scanner darkly

    Pretty soon we'll all be wearing those weird face-changing cloaks from 'A scanner darkly' which broadcasts a mish-mash of other people's faces constantly so you can't be recognised.

  5. James Ashton
    Big Brother

    Great for Passport Photos

    I wonder how long it will be before the government makes it illegal to use a tool like this on your passport photos. They probably think it is already but catching people at it and successfully prosecuting them is going to be challenging.

    1. Jason Bloomberg

      Re: Great for Passport Photos

      I am not sure how you think this would be "great for passport photos" or what could be achieved through manipulating a passport photo.

      Live image of passport holder matched to image from passport photo. No match and they aren't getting through. There's no need for prosecution when people are punishing themselves.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Great for Passport Photos

        Well I'll show the government by pissing in my own petrol tank. That'll show 'em.

  6. MiguelC Silver badge

    Obvious problem there

    The moment some of your friends see that machine-unidentifiable painting of you, they'll tag your name on it and the system will have a new match of your face to use

    1. Mathman

      Re: Obvious problem there

      Nope - it's a random distortion of the key features so each in-painted face is different and you can generate an arbitrary number of them.

      1. 's water music

        Re: Obvious problem there

        >>Nice one. Will there be an app for this?


        it's a random distortion of the key features so each in-painted face is different and you can generate an arbitrary number of them.

        I used to drink in a pub where several regulars offered a similar IRL service

      2. Jason Bloomberg

        Re: Obvious problem there

        @mathman: I expect that's why MiguelC said "friends". Machines may have a harder time making the match but there are likely limits to how many variations there can be before it becomes possible to make wider matches and tie them all together.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Obvious problem there

        I"t becomes popular then data collisions, on an ID system. Oh what fun

        Try explaining to the latest, positive discrimination hire that the computer match is not 100%.

  7. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I have doubts that facial recognition could identify someone who's face was blurred unless the facial recognition software had already seen the original unblurred photo previously or photos taken in the same location, clothing etc .

  8. Seajay#

    Maybe just don't upload the picture if you're the person in it and you're worried about being identified?

    The problem with social media is that other people can upload pictures of you and there's not a lot you can do about that. This technology does nothing to address that.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Head Generator

    Hold the glass at 45 degrees pour it up until the head reached the little 'Harp' logo on the side of the glass, or about two thirds of the way up for a non Guinness branded glass. You then let it settle for at least two minutes. Then top it up, so you have an nice dome of head on the top of the pint. One extra tip is, for the last third 'topping up' phase, to push the tap away from you, rather than pulling it towards you. That'll put less nitrogen into the pint, and therefore make sure you get more beer, and less head.

    1. Deltics

      Re: Head Generator

      Don't forget to use the last few seconds of pour to add a little clover leaf in the centre of the head. Easy once you know how. :)

  10. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Trust nobody

    If you make it - someone will break it. Security is an illusion, social media security/validity/honesty doubly so.

  11. razorfishsl

    Giving head to face book.

  12. Simon Harris

    What happens if you then blur the fake face?

    Can it be recognised again?

  13. Another User

    All white look the same ...

    The paper contains pictures where the original face is in focus. The featureless face is out of focus - blurry. To me these do not look the same. Moreover the modified picture is ‚lying‘. It is worse than a retouched picture.

  14. philthane

    Facebook ID photos?

    Anyone use this to produce random faces to keep Faceache happy?

  15. MR J

    Kids Today eh...

    They need an app to keep their social media images from being able to be tagged as them, that way others might not see that image.

    If only there was some other way to keep images from getting into the online world, life would be better.

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