The 'privacy visor' that stops surveillance in its tracks

Summary:Worried about the rising amount of surveillance tools used in the West? Perhaps a pair of these visors will calm your fears.

Worried about the rising amount of surveillance tools used in the West? Perhaps a pair of these visors will calm your fears.

It's not just police and governmental departments that are known for using surveillance and tracking technology. Security cameras double-up as data harvesters, bars and pubs track people for use with mobile device applications, and retail mannequins keep an eye on your facial expressions and walking patterns as you shop.

It's becoming part-and-parcel of everyday life in the West -- whether we are aware that it exists or not. However, that doesn't mean solutions are not available for the privacy and surveillance-conscious among us.

Tokyo's National Institute of Informatics are developing a pair of glasses that can protect you against facial recognition software used by social networks such as Facebook, and prevent you from being identified by hidden cameras.

The "privacy visor" (.pdf) uses a light source bordering on infrared -- something that human eyes are incapable of seeing, but sophisticated cameras can. Once these lights cover areas near your eyes and nose, facial-recognition software is unable to register your features and identify you when a photo is taken.

The creator, Isao Echizen, says:

"As a result of developments in facial recognition technology in Google images, Facebook et cetera and the popularisation of portable terminals that append photos with photographic information ... essential measures for preventing the invasion of privacy caused by photographs taken in secret and unintentional capture in camera images is now required."

The glasses, although not as fashion-conscious as Google Glass, will be "reasonably priced." Failing that, why not simply tip your head at a 15-degree angle to fool camera into thinking you don't have a face?

(via BBC)

Image credit: National Institute of Informatics


This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

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