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Hacking Big Brother With Help From Revlon 71

skids writes "All those futuristic full-face eyeliner jobs in dystopian cyberpunk fiction might not be that far off the mark. A New York University student spent his thesis time exploring computer vision technology (OpenCV) for ways in which one could confound first-stage algorithms that initially lock onto faces. Then he mixed in a bit of fashion sense to predict future geek chic. Now, whether you want to go for the coal-miner look just to stay out of the data mine, that's up to you."
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Hacking Big Brother With Help From Revlon

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  • "Coal-miner look"? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gront ( 594175 )
    No, if you read TFA, its more of a mad-max bad 80s thunderdome / ww1 dazzle / ranger camouflage than blackface or a football player's mascara.
    • by sznupi ( 719324 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @06:42PM (#31961988) Homepage

      Seems to me an aeasthetic patch covering one eye could work just as well - if not better. Plus it's relativelly less conspicuous (especially for a man)...and you might always need some medical procedure requiring later covering of one eye, right?

      PS. Harrrr!

        • by rts008 ( 812749 )

          *continuing offtopic*
          Thanks for that link!
          I think I have found my retirement plan. :-)

          Idaho? Well, that's okay, since I like potatoes.

          My original plan was:
          1. grow up (I was 8-10 years old)
          2. ??*get assloads of money*???
          3. buy Montana, and move into the middle of it.

          Oh yeah, since this is /. ...
          4. PROFIT!!!!!
          *end offtopic reply*

          Wow! Dugout Dick's face is truly one that 'only a mother could love', but his spirit I find purely beautiful.
          'Long live the spirit of Dugout Dick!!!'

          Again, thanks!...I had no idea...

      • Another plus is that the patch could be switched and worn on different eyes on different days and it doesn't hinder the wearing of additional disguise pieces such as a hat, glasses, wig or false mustache or beard. For example, the CIA probably has some pretty neat field disguise kits and they probably include the items mentioned above (among other pieces).
      • Even better: One-eyed sunglasses! You can still look trough. And I could imagine that becoming a fashion.

    • by grumling ( 94709 )

      My first thought was that Pris wasn't just trying to look good for Sebastian, she was trying to avoid detection.

  • So this stuff I've been wearing serves a purpose? Cool!

  • by phantomcircuit ( 938963 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @06:24PM (#31961808) Homepage

    Harvey's research involves the reverse engineering of OpenCV, which its creators describe as an open-source "library of programming functions for real-time computer vision."

    Oh the reg whatever shall we do with you...

    • It gets better yet:

      Harvey's research involves the reverse engineering of OpenCV, which its creators describe as an open-source "library of programming functions for real-time computer vision." From that work, he developed an understanding of the algorithm

      Sounds like a marketdroid's take at just saying: "He pulled off the truly amazing feat of downloading and looking at someone else's unobfuscated, well-documented open source code." ;-)

      The sad thing (not least for the graduate himself) is that there was l

  • So, if I don't want them to mine my data, I should mine some coal?
    • GHAAAHH!!!!

      I can't keep a straight face or my sanity with that line.

      Okay n00b[1], here's how it works:

      1. There will soon be an 'App for that'
      2. Some start-up will sell you a virtual coal mine.
      3. It will be incorporated into Google Earth/Maps.
      4. ???????
      5. Profit!!!!

      [1] You must be new here!

  • by jeko ( 179919 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @06:36PM (#31961916)
    Kratos laughs at your facial recognition software.
  • Weird Title (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RobinEggs ( 1453925 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @06:37PM (#31961926)
    There's no hacking involved, and the word hacking wasn't even necessary for sensationalism's sake. Seriously, I know people write misleading headlines to get eyeballs, but a perfectly accurate title could have been just as enticing: how about "Evading Big Brother with Help from Revlon?" Isn't evading about as interesting as hacking, Big Brother-wise?

    Even when they could be honest, accurate, and interesting the Slashdot editors simply don't bother. Why?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by biryokumaru ( 822262 )

      Now, I didn't RTFA or RTFS, but I did RTFH, and I'm pretty sure this story is about using lipstick to write an SQL injection attack directly across your face. I mean, duh.

      Why don't you try to RTFH sometime?

    • by adbge ( 1693228 )

      Even when they could be honest, accurate, and interesting the Slashdot editors simply don't bother. Why?

      I think the fault lies with TFA and its liberal usage of the word hacking. To be fair, I don't think it's the Soulskill's responsibility to rewrite the article in a more accurate manner, but a case could be made that such an article should never have been posted in the first place.

    • and words shift in meaning all the time. the way they spoke in 1960, 1910, 1860... the meanings of words you use today as they were in 1960, 1910, 1860... its completely fluid and outside of anyone's control

      so why do you fucking care so much about a fucking word?

      "hacking" has evolved to have different meanings. big fucking deal

      for whatever bizarre reason, you have a huge attachment to the meaning of "hacking"

      whatever, drama queen. get a life

      • so why do you fucking care so much about a fucking word? "hacking" has evolved to have different meanings. big fucking deal

        Ok, number one, mellow out. Why you're legitimately angry over my response is beyond me. Number two, words may change, but this use of the word 'hacking' is way, way outside even the most peripheral usage of the word today. Words, however they change or whatever word you select, still have to *communicate* with the people to whom you are speaking, and this word was badly chosen enough to nearly fail at communication. I don't care what word he chooses so long as it actually says something accurate *to me* a

    • ????WTF?????..... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rts008 ( 812749 )

      This is the essence of true 'hacking'.

      It's not all about 'computers' on 'the internets'.

      He is definitely 'hacking' the facial recognition system to give interested parties the ability to avoid/negate it.

      Ascribe to the Newspeak, imbibe that Koolaide, let the popular Media 'teach' you, and keep you informed...

      Oh yeah,...GET OFF MY LAWN, YOU PUNKS!!!!

  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @06:47PM (#31962042)

    From our "How to look non-conspicuous department": []

  • Just wear a mask (Score:5, Interesting)

    by VocationalZero ( 1306233 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @06:58PM (#31962168) Journal
    Whatever happened to just wearing a ski mask when committing a "crime"? I'm not sure I'd feel less silly painting my face than simply putting on a mask.

    Whats the point of bypassing facial recognition if you've still been recorded in a manner that could identify you? It would help abate real-time face-triggered alerts, but not much else.

    If people start doing this, I predict it would only be a matter of time before the police would categorize anyone with a painted face as a possible terrorist threat, such as how the ski mask is considered now.
  • Isn't geek-chic the same as always by definition? i.e. pizza/sweat stained cartoon/computer/who farted t-shirt with optional neck beard. Is that so hard?

    • My shirt has Vietnamese food stains, and I am not sporting a neckbeard. I just haven't had time to shave in the last few days.

      • by rts008 ( 812749 )

        My shirt has Vietnamese food stains.....

        Well, if it includes nouc mam [] , it may work...the sensors could be overloaded.

  • If this [] is what future geeks are going to look like, I'ms sure as hell staying in the industry!

  • by cosm ( 1072588 ) <> on Friday April 23, 2010 @07:16PM (#31962390)
    I think it would be hilarious for criminals to just wear Halloween masks of celebrities. Did Justin Bieber rob 62 banks last week? Did Britney Spears steal a carton of Newports in 8 different states in two days? Sure would put new meaning on the american people being robbed. CNN: "Did President Obama rob 1000 people today? Facial recognition technology tips off authorities."

    Hey, I am just a guy asking questions. What were we talking about again?
    • by sznupi ( 719324 )

      Hilarious robberies? Wouldn't streaking in Nixon mask be enough for you?

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by timmarhy ( 659436 )
      Obama is on track to rob more then 1000 people....
    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

      Did Britney Spears steal a carton of Newports in 8 different states in two days?

      In that case, there is a very good possibility it's actually her.

  • by timmarhy ( 659436 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @07:35PM (#31962546)
    Seriously, no wonder universities are producing so many substandard graduates these days, the standards seem to be inversely proportional to the fee's they charge.

    When hiring I hardly give that $100,000 education any weight at all, unless they have on the job experience they've applied it to, and their references can back that up.

    • Because the best way to prepare the next generation to take over is to refuse them for not having a college degree, then refuse them for having the college degree but not the experience...seriously, does someone's skill even matter anymore?
    • Oh yea. By far. I've seen much worse.

      Not sure what you mean by 'that $100,000 education', but if you are refering to fees that students pay, this is not always the case- some pretty awesome Universities/institutes out of the US of A (yes, there IS life out of 'merickuh) have no fees at all. And some will actually compensate you for being a student.

      Now, some of them (usually 'low caliber' ones) will push their students for publication of papers, just so that some lazy-ass supervisor will be able to publish h

  • This is a clever trick, but I'm not sure if it would defeat a system that utilized thermal imaging []. Presumably your face would look (pretty much) the same to an LWIR camera regardless of your make-up.

    We could all cover our faces with mud the same way Dutch did when he was outsmarting the Predator, but I'm only willing to go so far in my attempts to stay off the grid ;-)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sowth ( 748135 ) *

      It's easy to defeat a thermal imaging camera. Just call in Natalie Portman with her hot grits, and every system is overloaded.

    • Altering your appearance is pretty easy. Altering your habits of motion like your gait, your hand gestures, even to some extent your patterns of facial expression.... not as easy.

  • CAPTCHA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Voltara ( 6334 )

    So, in other words, this is the facial recognition equivalent of a CAPTCHA?

  • Boot Camp 101 (Score:5, Informative)

    by flyingfsck ( 986395 ) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @12:20AM (#31964562)

    He 'discovered' basic camoflage:
    Diagonal lines confuses facial recognision in humans too.

    Anyone that has been in the Military/Police could have told him that.

  • What he basically did was putting haar-like features [] on the face. Haar-like feature are derived from Haar wavelet [].
  • That will trigger a buffer overflow and segmentation fault in the recognition software, consequently snow-crashing [] the surveillance network wherever I go.

    (Or maybe settle for sending a temporary sleep command [].)

  • .. would be a DROP DATABASE statement literally On Your Face, or a 'Groucho Marx' set. (now THAT would be hilarious)
  • I am less interested in evading Big Brother tech, than I am interested in the ceasing of these intrusions in our lives. We should modify our appearances to avoid being tracked in everything we do? Those who are old enough in the US surely remember being told over and over again that part of what made the US system superior to the soviet system was that US citizens were free to live their lives without constant government scrutiny. We did not have to "show our papers". Now, everything that was shown to us as

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell