139th Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra51533235171017757 Tamil Nadu2969012386384927 Andhra Pradesh2278601387122036 Karnataka178087939083198 Delhi1454271305874111 Uttar Pradesh122609726502069 West Bengal95554671202059 Bihar7972051315429 Telangana7949555999627 Gujarat71064542382652 Assam5883842326145 Rajasthan5249738235789 Odisha4592731785321 Haryana4163534781483 Madhya Pradesh3902529020996 Kerala3433121832109 Jammu and Kashmir2489717003472 Punjab2390315319586 Jharkhand185168998177 Chhatisgarh12148880996 Uttarakhand96326134125 Goa871259575 Tripura6161417641 Puducherry5382320187 Manipur3752204411 Himachal Pradesh3371218114 Nagaland27819048 Arunachal Pradesh215514823 Chandigarh151590425 Meghalaya10624906 Sikkim8664971 Mizoram6082980
Technology Other News 28 Jul 2020 Pandemic masks thwar ...

Pandemic masks thwarting face recognition technology, says US agency

ANI/AFP
Published Jul 28, 2020, 6:53 pm IST
Updated Jul 28, 2020, 6:53 pm IST
Masked protestors at Black Lives Matter protests are tripping the face recognition tech used by police, as error rates are as high as 50 pc.
Before masks became ubiquitous as the coronavirus spread, Hong Kong had banned the use of masks among protestors, and privacy activists in London stepped out camouflaging their faces with makeup in geometric patterns to confuse facial recognition technology.  (Photo | AFP)
 Before masks became ubiquitous as the coronavirus spread, Hong Kong had banned the use of masks among protestors, and privacy activists in London stepped out camouflaging their faces with makeup in geometric patterns to confuse facial recognition technology. (Photo | AFP)

Having a tough time recognising your neighbors behind their pandemic masks? Computers are finding it more difficult, too.

A preliminary study published by a US agency on Monday found that even the best commercial facial recognition systems have error rates as high as 50% when trying to identify masked faces.

 

The mask problem is why Apple earlier this year made it easier for iPhone owners to unlock their phones without Face ID. It could also be thwarting attempts by authorities to identify individual people at Black Lives Matter protests and other gatherings.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology says it is launching an investigation to better understand how facial recognition performs on covered faces. Its preliminary study examined only those algorithms created before the pandemic, but its next step is to look at how accuracy could improve as commercial providers adapt their technology to an era when so many people are wearing masks.

 

Some companies, including those that work with law enforcement, have tried to tailor their face-scanning algorithms to focus on people’s eyes and eyebrows.

NIST, which is a part of the Commerce Department, is working with the US Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security’s science office to study the problem.

It tested the software by drawing digital masks onto the faces in a trove of border crossing photographs, and then compared those photos against another database of unmasked people seeking visas and other immigration benefits. The agency says it scanned 6.2 million images of about 1 million people using 89 algorithms supplied by tech firms and academic labs.

 

Under ideal conditions, NIST says the failure rate for the best facial recognition systems is only about 0.3%, though research has found significant disparities across race, gender and age. Add masks and the failure rate rises to 5% or worse. When confronted with masks, the agency says, “many otherwise competent algorithms failed between 20% to 50% of the time.”

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, some governments had sought technology to recognise people when they tried to conceal their faces.

Face masks had become a hallmark of protesters in Hong Kong, even at peaceful marches, to protect against tear gas and amid fears of retribution if they were publicly identified. The government banned face coverings at all public gatherings last year and warned of a potential six-month jail term for refusing a police officer’s order to remove a mask.

 

Privacy activists, in turn, have looked for creative ways to camouflage themselves. In London, artists opposed to high-tech surveillance have painted their faces with geometric shapes in a way that’s designed to scramble face detection systems.

Then came the coronavirus outbreak, when health experts around the world began strongly encouraging everyone to wear masks that cover the mouth and nose.

NIST’s preliminary study says what masks people wear, and how they wear them, makes a difference to facial recognition systems. The results are mostly unsurprising: The more facial features that are covered, the harder it is to recognise the person beneath the mask.

 

Click on Deccan Chronicle Technology and Science for the latest news and reviews. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter

...




ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT