back to article Coronavirus masks are thwarting facial recognition systems. So, of course, people are building training sets from your lockdown-wear selfies

Here's your summary of recent artificial intelligence bits and bytes, and related hardware and software. People’s face-mask selfies scraped from the internet: Face masks are a common sight right now, depending on where you live, as people slip them on to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. That's a problem for facial- …

  1. Wellyboot Silver badge

    Web scrapers

    >>>The best way to reduce the chances is to keep your social media accounts private without selfies<<<

    FTFY.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Web scrapers

      I find it amusing, not to say ironic, that so many people who complain about their privacy being invaded insist on splashing their mugs (and other parts) all over the internet.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Re: Web scrapers

      Just excluding selfies doesn't really work. You have to be considerate towards other people and exclude their faces too.

      Smiley, obviously, because I am saying "cheese"

    3. Irongut

      Re: Web scrapers

      No you didn't.

      > The best way to reduce the chances is to not have a social media account.

      Now its fixed and I can feel smug that I haven't contributed to the AIpocalypse.

      1. PTW

        Re: not have a social media account

        or rather not to have your picture taken, your pic may be posted by someone else on anti-social media

        TFTFY

        1. Drew Scriver

          Re: not have a social media account

          The Dutch have the word "asociaal", but I don't believe there's a good alternative in English. Anti-social nor a-social have the cachet that "asociaal" has in Dutch.

          It's self-centered, egotistical, and narcissistic all rolled into a single word.

          Suggestions?

          1. RM Myers
            Paris Hilton

            Re: not have a social media account

            Influencer?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Web scrapers

      What is this thing called a social media account? Why would I have one?

      (yes, I understand the irony of subscribing to El Reg comments in order to decry subscribing to arsebook etc)

  2. Blofeld's Cat

    I find your lack of face disturbing ...

    I've noticed that a number of people around here are starting to wear face coverings with custom designs on them.

    Either that or I hadn't previously noticed that Darth Vader (along with "The Joker" and "Bane") shopped at Sainsburys.

    1. Kevin Johnston

      Re: I find your lack of face disturbing ...

      There was an image on El Reg recently of a number of ladies from the far east all with masks which appeard to be printed with the lower half of someones face. Now that is the best way to beat facial recognition, does it use the lower half of Sam Smith or the upper half of Joe Soap or simply flag you as Joe Smith?

      1. Lotaresco

        Re: I find your lack of face disturbing ...

        "printed with the lower half of someones face."

        One Clarkson, J. Held a photo of Bill Oddie in front of his face when encountering speed cameras in Japan. This was, probably, a spoof. But I'm sure someone will now try it with a mask to avoid speeding fines from camera vans. That and false plates, naturally.

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: I find your lack of face disturbing ...

          While using their phone in the car...

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: I find your lack of face disturbing ...

      Jump onto Etsy (and others). There are loads.

      I've a bandana ready for use, with a Dazzle design, so every time I were it, the 'face' will appear different.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: I find your lack of face disturbing ...

        It comes with time hopping too?

    3. tony2heads

      Re: I find your lack of face disturbing ...

      I have also heard of people with cat masks

    4. jelabarre59

      Re: I find your lack of face disturbing ...

      Actually, the local Hannafords has masks for their staff all sporting the Hannaford logo.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google virtue signalling ... the prerogative of wealth, but it's an irrelevant posture

    "The Chocolate Factory declared it would not develop custom machine-learning algorithms that will help the oil and gas industry extract fossil fuels."

    Fortunately for humanity, Google doesn't have a monopoly on either brains or resources.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google virtue signalling ... the prerogative of wealth, but it's an irrelevant posture

      As I've posted here before, classic double standards. Google wouldn't exist (nor would most of the modern world) without the products of the extraction industries. We need to burn less fossil fuel, and eliminate the careless disposal of plastic waste - but even Greenpeace couldn't operate without oil.

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Google virtue signalling ... the prerogative of wealth, but it's an irrelevant posture

        Absolutely, all the greenies and the human rights charities depend on polluters and maniacs running countries.

      2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Google virtue signalling ... the prerogative of wealth, but it's an irrelevant posture

        ..and eliminate the careless disposal of plastic waste

        But Google exists thanks to waste producers throwing money at it so humble consumers can dispose of plastic waste. Perhaps some day, Google will announce that it won't take advertising from producers of high waste junk.

        Meanwhile, I'm pretty sure the petrochemical giants have their own supercomputers used to figure out where to poke holes next.

        1. baud

          Re: Google virtue signalling ... the prerogative of wealth, but it's an irrelevant posture

          > Meanwhile, I'm pretty sure the petrochemical giants have their own supercomputers used to figure out where to poke holes next.

          True. And there's a good proof of that in the Folding@Home leaderboards, with a Petrobras team in the top 50

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Google virtue signalling ... the prerogative of wealth, but it's an irrelevant posture

            True. And there's a good proof of that in the Folding@Home leaderboards, with a Petrobras team in the top 50

            Yup. And in other news, looks like Sizewell C may be going ahead. 3.2GW of steady, low carbon electricity. Enough to power 6m homes. Naturally the neo-luddites don't like this idea, so here's the BBC-

            https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-52813171

            But Mrs Downes said: "Sizewell C would be an expensive bridge to nowhere: it will suck vital funds away from the technologies and projects that are more capable of truly transforming our energy landscape."

            Or just landscape. As in covering it in windmills, and leading to things like this-

            https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2020/05/24/wind-farms-paid-record-9-3m-to-switch-off-their-turbines-on-friday/

            In what has been declared a "national embarrassment" and a power management "disgrace" by campaigners, consumers will ultimately foot the bill of £6.9m to 66 Scottish plants and £1.9m to 14 offshore plants in England.

            But for the 'renewables' lobby, this is good. Shame Google doesn't practice what it preaches and power it's operations purely from 'renewable' technology. Could be a problem today given UK winds are low and windmills are useless. But such is greenwash. Given the US energy mix, Google's still burning coal.

  4. Irongut
    Boffin

    Since machine learning is a black box and no one knows exactly what the algorithm is doing, how can these researchers be sure they are building a "Facial Recognition Database" and not a "Mask Recognition Database"?

    1. Stumpy

      Presumably, when they test the trained AI, they feed in pictures of known people both wearing masks and not wearing masks and rely on the AI being able to determine who is who from all the images...

      (or did I just fail to detect sarcasm in your post?)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You'd need the same people wearing different masks.

        I have a feeling just a different fabric, band or pattern on the mask could throw this one a spanner if not "trained" properly.

  5. Teiwaz

    What's needed

    Is an algorythm that could be released that replaces all human faces in images with... say the guy fawkes mask.

    Try that for a facial recog training set.

    There'd be a few side effects though....

    For one, all porn would become a weird fetish - it's why I didn't consider Trump-face or Zucker-gob (good gods, the recent Facebook article close-up portrait was unsettling enough, felt like the missonary position with 'stan laurel' himself.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: What's needed

      Is an algorythm that could be released that replaces all human faces in images with... say the guy fawkes mask.

      Obvious mask is obvious and available.. the AlGore mask!

  6. Joe Harrison

    Mask that is simultaneously anti-virus and virus

    I prefer not to have to bother with masks but anywhere that obliges me to wear one will see a mask with this QRcode on it

    https://www.revk.uk/2020/01/eicar-test-qr.html

    1. Spanners Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Mask that is simultaneously anti-virus and virus

      Or you could put in the idea in https://xkcd.com/327

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