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Posts Tagged ‘makeup’

2020-03-02-dazzleclub

Photo: Dazzle Club/Cocoa Laney 
Members of the Dazzle Club in February 2020 demonstrating techniques to subvert facial-recognition technology.

In my early online years, I naively thought I could protect my privacy by using a different photo at all my social media sites: the blog, Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram … Now I know hiding my face is a lost cause.

Interestingly, there are young people in England who don’t believe the cause is lost. A March PRI (Public Radio International) story explains how you can go to a protest and not be tracked when you exercise the Right of Assembly (US term). I couldn’t resist sharing the story because recently individuals that Dickens’s Sam Weller would call “The Law” have started covering their own faces despite demands to see yours. Irony.

So if you are a Yellow-Vest Mom and your Covid face mask seems insufficient, consider makeup.

Orla Barry reports, “It’s a rainy evening in East London and a group of people with their faces daubed in bizarre make-up is making their way silently through the neighborhood’s busy streets. Nobody speaks although many commuters and tourists stare. This is The Dazzle Club.

“Set up by four artists, the group dons camouflage make-up and leads a silent public walk once a month in protest of live facial recognition police cameras in London. The make-up is called CV Dazzle and, when applied correctly, it tricks the cameras into being unable to detect a face. Artist Evie Price, who leads the walk on a February night, worries about what the police do with the information the cameras observe.

” ‘What are they doing with the data that they’re collecting?’ said Price. ‘They say it’s for safety purposes and preventative policing, but we have no evidence that what they’re actually using it for is working.’

“London is already one of the most surveilled cities in the world with around 420,000 CCTV cameras in operation. Washington, D.C., has around 30,000 in comparison. …

“Civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch believes the technology could alter how the police view members of the public. Director Silkie Carlo compares the cameras to a police line-up.

‘It actually starts to reverse the presumption of innocence. It means that members of the public in our everyday lives are effectively being subjected to a constant police lineup, constantly having our identities checked to make sure that we’re not criminals,’ Carlo said.

“The cameras [work] by scanning people’s faces and then comparing those images to a list of suspects police have already inputted into the system. London’s assistant police commissioner, Nick Ephgrave, said the technology does not store images of people’s faces, unless they are on the list. …

” ‘The only images that are retained are those where there has been an alert. And they are retained for a maximum of 31 days,’ Ephgrave said.

“London police claim the cameras are 70% accurate, but that does not concur with the findings of an independent study into the technology. Professor Pete Fussey, an expert in surveillance with Essex University was commissioned by the police to review the effectiveness of the system. His results differed greatly from those of the police.

‘On the six trials that I observed, there were 42 times in which the facial recognition system alerted operators that someone passed the cameras, who matched the database. In only eight of those cases, was it verifiably correct that the person was without any doubt the person that had been matched,’ Fussey said.

“That’s an accuracy rate of 19%.

“But despite the independent report, London police are not the only ones pushing for the technology to be expanded. Retailers across Britain have also started to use live facial recognition cameras in their stores. Facewatch, one company that provides facial recognition technology, says the failure of police to tackle low-level crimes, like shop-lifting, is driving more shop-owners to use the cameras. Facewatch CEO Nick Fisher says they’re proving very effective. …

“The Dazzle Club doesn’t yet know if the camouflage makeup will truly fool police cameras. Artist Georgina Rowlands, a fellow Club founder says they haven’t been able to access the software the London police use. …

“After an hour, the silent walk comes to an end and the group all head to a local pub to have a beer and chat. Claudia and James, who didn’t share their full identities, joined the walk that night for the first time. Claudia says she found the experience uplifting. …

“James said he was worried about the extent to which the cameras are already being used around the world. ‘Facial recognition is a huge thing already and especially when you look at what’s happening in China. [The walk] just seemed a really nice way of, you know, pushing back against that.’ ” More here.

Note that “a beer and a chat” probably went on lockdown shortly after this story was published.

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