Facial recognition software is getting quite good, but it’s not perfect.  Image processing uses the contrast between adjacent pixels or groups of pixels to find edges and distinguish features.  Thus, facial recognition software has trouble with darker faces that absorb more light.  The software is racist.  Things like hoods and ballcaps are the traditional way of obscuring your face from video cameras.  This obviously makes them useful for beating facial recognition software.  However, they look suspicious to police officers.  Instead, it may be possible to use certain types of face paint or makeup on the cheeks and under the eyes to reduce the contrast between a nose and cheeks or a chin and jawline and cheeks and therefore blur the image enough to confuse an image-processing algorithm while not being obvious to the naked eye.  One approach is to simply make the nose, cheekbones, and jawline darker.

Another approach is to make the surrounding face lighter since the nose and cheek bones reflect light and making the surrounding surfaces lighter reduces the contrast with the nose and cheeks.  Other options include growing a beard to make the edge of your face fuzzy and harder for an edge-detection algorithm to process.

Amazon, which makes sells facial recognition software, has APIs that can be used with a home camera to test these methods.  If you can write software, we welcome countermeasures to the new face-based surveillance system.

You might be thinking, “I have nothing to hide.  This doesn’t affect me!”  We hasten to explain that the 5th amendment was originally intended to prevent innocent people from incriminating themselves to overzealous law enforcement.  This happens, you know.  Do you want to live under a social credit system?

The best thing, by far, is for us to culturally reject ubiquitous surveillance and work with our government to make these practices illegal.  Given our cultural and moral stupor, I think it also wise to have a plan B.  Ask a Chinese Christian.

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