Facial recognition software is ubiquitous. From being auto-tagged by facebook to being added to a database of images, we can’t control what happens to our likeness once it gets online. These days more data is being extracted from each of our online interactions. Tracking cookies and search history give companies a clear view of your Internet footprint. Most precious of all is your own face. Enter AVG’s new concept invisibility glasses which were presented at in Barcelona for the MWC 2015. Once you put them on, you’re rendered instantly invisible to facial recognition software.
Consumers have had trust issues with what companies are doing with that information. The most recent breach of trust has been by Lenovo’s use of data-gathering adware Superfish which used data-mined personal information to deliver its ads.
Facial recognition software works on three levels. It first identifies that there is a face present in the image, then it identifies a unique set of features, and finally it matches the facial structure with its database of images. These glasses throw off the algorithm so most software wouldn’t be able to tell that there is a face present at all.
We’ve seen this technology in previous incarnations with the Privacy Visor. Both glasses use infrared LEDs that are naked to the human eye but show up on recorded images. AVG’s glasses look a lot more wearable than the clunky visor, and AVG’s model is framed in reflective material to create a distorted image when photographed. It’s enough to trick recognition software into thinking that you’re just part of the background.
AVG’s glasses aren’t available for purchase. They were designed just to be a concept model and get everyone talking about the big issue of online privacy. AVG is a security company that has been protecting consumers and their privacy from malware like last week’s PowerOffHijack. These glasses are really a project that is symbolic of society’s ever-growing lack of privacy and the extremes that we now have to take to protect it.