A judge ruled last week that a US class-action lawsuit arguing that Facebook's use of its facial recognition tech violates Illinois law will go ahead, despite the company's attempts to dismiss it. The company has used this data to develop powerful artificial intelligence that can identify individual's faces in photos with more than 97 per cent accuracy. This lets Facebook automatically tag people in your newly uploaded images. Not everyone is happy with the feature, however. Last year, a group of Facebook users in Illinois filed a civil complaint, claiming that it violated the state's Biometric Information Privacy Act.
Facial recognition makes sense as a method for your computer to recognize you. After all, humans already use a powerful version of it to tell each other apart. But people can be fooled (disguises! Now researchers have demonstrated a particularly disturbing new method of stealing a face: one that's based on 3-D rendering and some light Internet stalking. Earlier this month at the Usenix security conference, security and computer vision specialists from the University of North Carolina presented a system that uses digital 3-D facial models based on publicly available photos and displayed with mobile virtual reality technology to defeat facial recognition systems.
Applied Recognition and PS Solutions have jointly developed a prototype smart mirror that can provide personalized information to individuals using Applied Recognition's facial recognition authentication technology combined with future machine learning. The "Information Mirror" displays information relevant to the individual such as the weather forecast, news, etcetera based on information which has been pre-set, and can be used as a bathroom mirror. By using Applied Recognition's facial recognition authentication technology, Ver-ID Authentication, the individual reflected in the mirror can be automatically recognized and have personalized content displayed. In combination with machine learning in the future, it will also be possible to make suggestions according to lifestyle such as clothing, food or transport routes based on the individual's schedule. "Applied Recognition is grateful for the opportunity to work with PS Solutions, the leader in Japanese IoT solutions, on this facial recognition prototype," said Applied Recognition CEO Ray Ganong.
A team of researchers from Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University have created sets of eyeglasses that can prevent wearers from being identified by facial recognition systems, or even fool the technology into identifying them as completely unrelated individuals. In their paper, Accessorize to a Crime: Real and Stealthy Attacks on State-of-the-Art Face Recognition, presented at the 2016 Computer and Communications Security conference, the researchers present their system for what they describe as "physically realisable" and "inconspicuous" attacks on facial biometric systems, which are designed to exclusively identify a particular individual. The attack works by taking advantage of differences in how humans and computers understand faces. By selectively changing pixels in an image, it's possible to leave the human-comprehensible facial image largely unchanged, while flummoxing a facial recognition system trying to categorise the person in the picture. Where the researchers struck gold was by realising that a large (but not overly large pair of glasses) could act to "change the pixels" even in a real photo.
Almost a year after it came out in the US, Facebook is releasing its facial recognition-powered photo app Moments in Europe. Except the new version won't actually include any facial recognition technology, thanks to the company's long-running fight with the Irish data protection commissioner over whether the technology is actually legal in the EU. Launched in June, Moments is Facebook's answer to dedicated photo management applications like Google Photos and Apple's Photos. The app bundles pictures together by the event they're taken at, and applies facial recognition technology to identify who's in each picture. Facebook takes the offering a step further than Apple or Google, by leveraging its social network: once you've created your "moments", you can share them with other people at the same event, to ensure that they have the photos of them, and you have the photos of you.