|The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is testing facial recognition technologies (FRTs) that can see through face masks with an encouraging level of accuracy, meaning that travelers could end up breezing through airports without the need to uncover their mouths and noses at border checks. In light of the COVID pandemic, research funding has increased dramatically for testing soft mask FRT.|
On average, said the DHS, the different AI systems correctly identified 93% of unmasked individuals; for those wearing a mask, the identification rate reached an average of 77%. While this percentage of accuracy is very far from ideal or usable, as the field of penetrable facial recognition technology research continues to expand, so will the refinement of its applications to acceptable levels of facial detection.
Soft mask facial recognition algorithms typically work by measuring a face’s features that are visible — their size and distance from one another, for example — and then comparing these measurements to those from another photo of the subject.
Some key findings of the soft mask FRT thus far are:
– The more of the nose a mask covers, the lower the algorithm’s accuracy. The study explored three levels of nose coverage — low, medium and high — finding that accuracy degrades with greater nose coverage.
– While false negatives increased (with soft masks on), false positives remained stable or modestly declined. Errors in face recognition can take the form of either a “false negative,” where the algorithm fails to match two photos of the same person, or a “false positive,” where it incorrectly indicates a match between photos of two different people.
– The shape and color of a mask matters. Algorithm error rates were generally lower with round masks. Black masks also degraded algorithm performance in comparison to surgical blue ones.
Anti-Facial Recognition Technologies
Currently, anti-facial recognition technology is centered on clothing, jewelry and other wearables designed to thwart FRT, such as the LED privacy visor below, invented by Japanese scientist, Isao Echizen, a professor at the National Institute of Informatics in Tokyo.
I’m fairly certain that Homeland Security will ban such devices, most likely enforced through the anti-mask laws that exist in most states; the earliest mask law passed in 1845 in New York.
BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.
As always, stay safe.