Privacy goggles fool hidden facial-recognition cameras


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.

  • Boozu

    Yes the lights are conspicupous, but if he wore a mask nobody would know who it was.

    • Far East

      Exactly.. Low-tech rules ;-)

    • Edohiguma

      Then they’d just make a similar law like in Germany and Austria.

      • Interesting, but masks in Japan are a HUGE norm, people work while sick, and they wear masks… doubt they would make a law on masks…

  • Jack Mehoff

    this is great for avoiding any tangible evidence of being someplace when the method of finding that someone is cameras. I think it will be a very big seller in the USA too because cameras are everywhere, and I mean everywhere. Electric Eye…In the Sky… Always there… Feel its Stare…………There’s nothing you can do about it,,, develop and exposed…….Judas Priest song lyrics. I’m sure the things will be slimmed down and end up looking a lot like a pair of sunglasses after they go through a few cycles of R&D.

  • Dave Coleman

    Why would anyone object to being recognized unless she had something to hide? If you want privacy, stay home.

  • Tony Gregson

    Seriously – in Japan one of those worthless face masks with a pair of large Channel-type sunglasses and a peaked hat would be way more effective and less conspicuous. Outside of Asia though, those face masks just attract attention.

  • Edohiguma

    You’re already carrying an ID and the police can stop you to check that. So the point of this is… what?

    Now if I was a LEO, and I’d see you with that setup, I’d definitely stop you and ask for ID.