A “privacy visor” that uses infrared light to interfere with facial recognition technology has been developed to thwart the steady rise in computer-based surveillance in Japan.
The goggles are useful for anyone who wants to avoid being recognized by hidden surveillance cameras, the inventors say.
“Measures for preventing the invasion of privacy caused by photographs taken in secret . . . are now required,” said Isao Echizen of Tokyo’s National Institute of Informatics.
The goggles, which are made of clear plastic, are lined with lights that emit near-infrared rays. Echizen says this is enough to throw software off the scent, rendering a face invisible to a computer. However, the large plastic structures, complete with glowing lights and a sizeable power pack, may make the wearer somewhat conspicuous to the naked eye.
Echizen, however, says he believes they are an improvement on previous privacy shields — or the less innovative sunglasses and baseball hat approach — that is generally used to obscure people’s faces.
Last year, the European Union ordered Facebook to remove a facial recognition service after public complaints grew about data protection related to the use of their photos.