Looks like warpaint, does it not? Image by Adam Harvey
You've heard about facial recognition software, right? It's one of the many next steps in surveillance technology that raises serious privacy concerns due to its apparent ability to help track our every move.
Turns out it can be defeated by makeup.
The non-red-squared faces in the image above are makeup patterns that, in tests by design studio AH Projects rendered the faces underneath unreadable to such a program.
I don't usually address technology here, but I focus on this particular incident to return to one of my favorite themes: how drastically foolish an over-reliance on supposedly quick-fix technological methods is.
Let's review: Horrendously expensive drones kill 50 civilians for every militant, while soldiers armed with $60 bayonets kill 20 militants with no casualties. Despite all the fancy geo-engineering methods proposed, the cheapest, most efficient, least dangerous way to planet tinker is still planting f'ing trees.
And elaborate surveillance networks are trumped by a few dollars worth of makeup.
There's a lesson here.
P.S.- Plus, in the designs above, I smell a subcultural style waiting to be born. How long before police seek a ban on increasingly popular elaborate facepaint because of the invisibility it provides?