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Privacy Technology

AVG Announces Invisibility Glasses 150

BrianFagioli writes So what do these glasses from AVG Innovation Labs actually do? The security firm claims it can protect your identity in this new era of cameras everywhere. From the article: "'Through a mixture of technology and specialist materials, privacy wearables such as invisibility glasses can make it difficult for cameras or other facial recognition technologies to get a clear view of your identity', AVG claims. This is still in the prototype phase of testing, though it has been officially announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. There's a lot of science behind this -- a series of infrared lights surrounding the eyes and nose is not visible to other people, but cameras will pick it up making recognition difficult at best. There's also reflective materials involved, which aids in the blocking, or so it's claimed."
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AVG Announces Invisibility Glasses

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  • *sighs* (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Barny ( 103770 ) <bakadamage-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Monday March 02, 2015 @06:18AM (#49162857) Journal

    Well, expect there to be signs all over banks and other secure locations, from now on, telling people to remove helmets, glasses and all articles of clothing.

    Seriously, fucking with security cameras is really a needed thing?

    • Re:*sighs* (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday March 02, 2015 @06:22AM (#49162873) Journal
      They are 'surveillance' cameras. Sometimes, surveillance is, indeed, an ingredient in the production of 'security'. Other times, not so much. In either case though, the camera only ever handles the surveillance, possibly with some other component producing security from it.
      • BUT, also...

        Regular old glass blocks the vast majority of infrared. No special IR "emitters" are necessary. The lenses just look black to IR cameras.

        Here's just one example which illustrates this very well. [wattsupwiththat.com]
        • Re:*sighs* (Score:5, Informative)

          by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Monday March 02, 2015 @07:41AM (#49163109) Homepage

          Regular old glass blocks the vast majority of infrared. No special IR "emitters" are necessary.

          How would you imagine than an IR emitter would block IR, in any case?

          The emitters are there to dazzle IR-sensitive cameras.

          • Re:*sighs* (Score:5, Interesting)

            by monkeyzoo ( 3985097 ) on Monday March 02, 2015 @08:41AM (#49163355)

            Some cool thinking by AVG, but the ideas presented have significant limitations, as they themselves acknowledge if you click through and read their actual link.

            A more reliable (and perhaps feasible?) line of inquiry has been started by CV Dazzle through their use of "camouflage" glasses, facial markings, and/or hairstyles.
            Very interesting stuff here: http://cvdazzle.com/ [cvdazzle.com]

            • Except that, as I recall, they can now do high-accuracy facial recognition based on bone structure alone - something that can't be hidden by dark glasses, hairstyles, or any amount of face paint. If you want to protect your identity we're now in the territory of masks, veils, and facial prosthetics. Just be sure to stand still, because they've made great strides in gait recognition as well.

              • Except that, as I recall, they can now do high-accuracy facial recognition based on bone structure alone - something that can't be hidden by dark glasses, hairstyles

                It can be quite easily hidden by hairstyles if they cover up said bone structure.

                or any amount of face paint.

                If they're inferring bone structure from visible light images, then this sounds like just the job for face paint. People have been enhancing/redefining their cheekbones with make up for years.

                Just be sure to stand still, because they've made great strides in gait recognition as well.

                Walk without rhythm. Don't attract the DHS.

              • Re:*sighs* (Score:4, Insightful)

                by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday March 02, 2015 @02:26PM (#49165769)

                Gait recognition?

                Dammit, THAT's what the ministry of silly walks was about! Those sneaky Brits!

          • Combine these emitter glasses with a tin foil hat for improve results.
          • How would you imagine than an IR emitter would block IR, in any case? The emitters are there to dazzle IR-sensitive cameras.

            You missed my point.

            I simply meant that large glass lenses -- even those clear to visible light -- will serve to hide any facial features behind them to IR. It probably wouldn't stop recognition of a face, but it would probably be sufficient to obscure your face.

            I noticed in the pictures given as illustration, that was not true. Eyes were clearly visible behind the lenses. So either the lenses are not normal glass, or those pictures weren't actually involving much in the infrared spectrum.

            • I simply meant that large glass lenses -- even those clear to visible light -- will serve to hide any facial features behind them to IR.

              The IR emitters aren't meant to hide features - how would they do that, anyway? They're meant to dazzle the camera, break up outlines, and possibly - if they strobe - confuse tracking. And they work on visible light cameras; no-one brought up IR cameras until you did, though they'd probably do the same for them as well.

              So the emitters aren't trying to do the job of glass.

              or those pictures weren't actually involving much in the infrared spectrum.

              The fact there were in more-or-less natural colour should have been your first clue ;)

              • My point was that IF they were being used to dazzle IR cameras, they're pointless because IR cameras wouldn't see your face behind the glasses anyway. They might recognize A face, but not YOUR face.

                Also, not mentioned earlier but just as cogent: IR blasters wouldn't work on most halfway decent cameras anyway, because they have IR filters on them... precisely because IR messes up the exposure.
        • Re:*sighs* (Score:5, Informative)

          by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Monday March 02, 2015 @08:17AM (#49163245) Journal

          The point of the emitters is not block IR but screw up the camera's exposure. Ever take a picture of someone standing in front of bright light source, and had the subject come out all dark? Its fooled the camera's light meter.

          Same kind of deal here, either the IR will wash out the image of the rest of your face, over exposing, or fool the camera into thinking the reflected light is greater than it is, under exposing. Either way the resulting image will be less detailed. There are darkroom/photo editing tricks to overcome this to a degree but it will complicate the process greatly for automated systems.

          How the TSA will feel about it remains to be seen.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            How the TSA will feel about it remains to be seen.

            If they work, they'll be banned, if not, they will sell them at the TSA's airport duty free souvenir shop.

            • by geoskd ( 321194 )

              If they work, they'll be banned, if not, they will sell them at the TSA's airport duty free souvenir shop.

              Why can't it be both? The TSA aint too bright...

              • Sell
                Confiscate
                Sell again

                Sounds pretty bright to me!

                • reminds me of a concert I went to. I saw korn back in 98 and bought a korn bottle opening at the show. I went back to see them again in 99, the bottle opener was on my keychain. Security tried to make me give them the bottle opener saying i couldnt bring it inside. I went and explained how i bought it at this exact venue at this show last year, and they are selling them inside he wasnt having any of it. eventually i took it off my keychain and put it in my shoe and lo and behold. it was for sale inside!!!!
                  • by bored ( 40072 )

                    I saw korn back in 98 and bought a korn bottle opening at the show. I went back to see them again in 99, the bottle opener was on my keychain.

                    Did you actually think the security at a concert is there to protect the concert attendees?

                    Eye rolling... Their primary job is to protect the revenue streams inside the concert. Hence the focus on busting people with hip flasks and the like.

                    • i was a concert promoter myself for a few years, and you are right there. I thought it was funny because it was a tiny keychain, the carabiner it was on was more of a weapon than the bottle opener haha
              • Not too bright like a fox... where do you think they get their stock for the gift shop? You don't think they actually *buy* all those pocket knives, knitting needles, and 2.5oz and larger bathroom products, do you?

            • If they're banned, the "no IR emitting glasses" sign doubles as the "here your privacy will be voided" sign.

          • The point of the emitters is not block IR but screw up the camera's exposure.

            The point of my comment was that with IR cameras, that's probably not necessary.

            If you had large, flat, regular glass lenses, IR cameras would not see your facial features behind them.

            But if it's about screwing up regular cameras with IR (because most digital cameras are sensitive to IR to some degree), that's a different matter. But the idea still has problems because most "regular" digital cameras have IR filters on them anyway, for precisely the reason that IR screws up exposure. So I still don't s

    • Well, expect there to be signs all over banks and other secure locations, from now on, telling people to remove helmets, glasses and all articles of clothing.

      ... all of that and anal probing.

    • Well, expect there to be signs all over banks and other secure locations, from now on, telling people to remove helmets, glasses and all articles of clothing.

      Seriously, fucking with security cameras is really a needed thing?

      Traffic and other types of cams that shouldn't be used to track people should certainly be fucked with.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      My credit union has had a sign on the door asking people to remove hats and sunglasses for more than a year.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by MitchAmes ( 1080977 )

        ... remove hats and sunglasses for more than a year.

        I hope you sue them when you get skin cancer or cataracts after going all summer without protection from the sun.

    • I dont believe that this is gonna work as claimed .
    • I don't know if this the joke and I just missed it, but there are already signs in banks that say to remove helmets and sunglasses so that video cameras can get a good view. Have been for years.
      • by Barny ( 103770 )

        Never been asked to remove my sunglasses in a bank. There are times when I leave my normal glasses (short sighted) at home and the only way to see at all is with my prescription sunglasses on. In this case, any requests for me to remove them would be met with me asking to talk to a bank manager in regards to stopping my accounts and withdrawing all my money.

        Basically, for those of us who need such devices to see well (I need to wear the damn things nearly all the time, a hefty and constant dose of immune in

        • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

          Seriously? All they do is ask you to remove them for a moment so the camera (or the receptionis, or the teller) can see you without the glasses. Then you put them back on.

          And guess what? The manager isn't going to do a damn thing until he can verify your identity, which will involve removing the glasses.

    • Well, expect there to be signs all over banks and other secure locations, from now on, telling people to remove helmets, glasses and all articles of clothing.

      Seriously, fucking with security cameras is really a needed thing?

      I'll let you politely check yourself after you review your local city budget for "camera management".

      Once you see just how much taxpayer money is being poured into watching your every move, you might understand the need to try and dismantle these Orwellian efforts now.

      Oh, and please don't be ignorant and start asking shit like how could this possibly get any worse when that army of stationary cameras today will be mounted on an army of flying drones tomorrow. Believe me things can get much worse.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      I'm fine with this. The First Naked Bank of Washington.

    • Once you can convince people to wear bright flashing beacons that label them for extra special attention, you win. Clearly anyone who wants to protect their privacy is either a bank robber or a terrorist.
    • Depends. Do you want to have at least a little bit of privacy?

    • no, expect this to be outlawed, because you know, terrorists....
  • Streisand effect. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 02, 2015 @06:18AM (#49162859)

    Actually, this looks like just the way to get attention and get people manually making the effort to identify you.

    Privacy is fundamentally not a technical problem but a social one, and needs to be protected with promotion of a privacy-conscious social contract and ultimately with laws (both to sanction private entities which abuse privacy and to limit the powers of the state to use any information gathered inappropriately).

    • Agreed, this is a good way to get people very interested in watching you. Someone going this far out of their way to evade surveillance is naturally going to draw suspicion. I'm still holding out for the pattern shifting masks the cops wear in "A Scanner Darkly", those would at least be more fun. I started a petition once to ban the use of facial recognition on the public, maybe I didn't publicize it enough, but I didn't get many signatures. I thought there would be more people who would feel strongly that

      • I was wrong about the IR filters on digital cameras, as another poster mentioned, a remote control IR emitter shows up bright as day on my camera. I'm confused by the result as I understand digital cameras do filter IR so the sky doesn't look purple, etc.. but oddly the IR emitted from an IR LED shows up as bright as any visible light source. Between reflectivity to thwart flash photo's and IR emitters I'd have to say this gadget technically may be quite effective.

  • by Jamu ( 852752 ) on Monday March 02, 2015 @06:20AM (#49162863)
    Assuming your identity isn't given away by the fact that you're the only person wearing infrared emitting glasses. Anyway, for the full effect, you should walk around naked so you can't be identified by the clothes you're wearing.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Also paint your genitals fluorescent green, in case of TSA recognition software.
      • Get with the program...

        May I interest you in this privacy enhancing penis cover? Knobbed for her pleasure and "his" privacy ;)

    • by Savage-Rabbit ( 308260 ) on Monday March 02, 2015 @06:43AM (#49162925)

      Assuming your identity isn't given away by the fact that you're the only person wearing infrared emitting glasses. Anyway, for the full effect, you should walk around naked so you can't be identified by the clothes you're wearing.

      That depends on your use-case. If you are Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi you might be better off just shaving your beard off and avoiding cameras. If you are a private citizen who is not trying to hide, not wanted by the police and is just plain old creeped out by being under constant surveillance then this might be a product you want even if it makes you stick out like a sore thumb. It also depends on how commonly accepted this technology becomes. If the public at large eventually gets so creeped out by being under constant surveillance that half of them wear a device like this there is very little the security services in most western democracies could do about it without looking like the Gestapo or NKVD.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 02, 2015 @06:43AM (#49162927)

      You should go everywhere accompanied by a young, nubile swimsuit model in a revealing costume.

      No matter how many cameras there are, any cameras directed by a male surveillance team won't be looking at you....

      • Eh.. wont work. They will just tag you as the dork with the hot chick for easy reference to find the hot chick to show thier buddies. You will eventually have to list it as an alias if ever investigated for antthing.

      • by Jamu ( 852752 )

        You should go everywhere accompanied by a young, nubile swimsuit model in a revealing costume.

        I completely agree.

      • You should go everywhere accompanied by a young, nubile swimsuit model in a revealing costume.

        No matter how many cameras there are, any cameras directed by a male surveillance team won't be looking at you....

        [Cough]Ron Jeremy[/cough]

    • Then we'll look for the house next to the house with no numbers.

      Anyway, for the full effect, you should walk around naked

      I'm waaay ahead on this one.

  • Also, these aren't actually doing much to conceal the identity of the wearers. This is equivalent to sticking a piece of that reflective tape they put on schoolbuses over your eyes.

    • I'm guessing a "designer" came up with those hipster glasses?

      Why bother with glasses when there are rechargeable button cell batteries that you can fix with double sided tape or a clip, to any pair of glasses?
      Cameras come from the sides too. Where one could wear IR LED clip-on earrings.

      And why point your week LED at a camera (which can be too far for the light to reach the lens) when you can point it AT THE FACE and "wash it out"?

      It will age your skin though [nature.com] so additional facial creme might not be a bad ide

  • I recall reading somewhere that a driver in the UK was brought to court over using a device that rendered license plates invisible to cameras and ANPR readers, but not to the naked eye. could anyone here find the link?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Polarized plate covers. And they are readily available online. Get caught using them in Canada as well and you're in shit.

    • Wouldn't surprise me especially since most of those devices for obscuring license plates are covers or paints and are easily dealt with in accordance with the law. For example Minnesota State Statute 169.79 sub section 7 [mn.gov] states:

      All plates must be (1) securely fastened so as to prevent them from swinging, (2) displayed horizontally with the identifying numbers and letters facing outward from the vehicle, and (3) mounted in the upright position. The person driving the motor vehicle shall keep the plate legible and unobstructed and free from grease, dust, or other blurring material so that the lettering is plainly visible at all times. It is unlawful to cover any assigned letters and numbers or the name of the state of origin of a license plate with any material whatever, including any clear or colorless material that affects the plate's visibility or reflectivity.

      So in my state any cover one were to put over their plate, including those license plate frames dealers put on, would be illegal. At the same time if one were to rig up a system where one was dumping out massive amounts of IR around the plate in an effort to flood the image that wo

      • by arth1 ( 260657 )

        It is unlawful to cover any assigned letters and numbers or the name of the state of origin of a license plate with any material whatever, including any clear or colorless material that affects the plate's visibility or reflectivity.

        In other words, it is legal to cover the parts that don't have letters and numbers or the name of the state? Cover those parts with the same black paint that they use for the letters and numbers.

        • Never thought of that, but to do it would take someone more ballsy than I as it seems to skate awfully close to the line where a judge would rule against you. That and I don't know where I would get IR absorbing paint like what is used on Minnesota's new license plates which are designed to be easily read by ALPRs with very high contrast in the IR spectrum. This tells me that the cameras they are using don't have IR filters and with enough power being dumped out around the plate it will hopefully screw up
  • by PhilHibbs ( 4537 ) <snarks@gmail.com> on Monday March 02, 2015 @06:43AM (#49162929) Homepage Journal

    So when someone takes a picture of you wearing these glasses, uploads it to Facebook and tags you...

  • These glasses may foil current face detection techniques (I'm not even sure about that),
    but based on the pictures provided they do not actually conceal from the camera a significant part of your face,
    and do not introduce significant variable noise. It should be trivial to adjust face detection and recognition to overcome this
    should these ever become popular enough.

  • Didn't Mythbusters do an episode on that?

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      nope. They can block IR thermal cameras, but 99.987641% of all security cameras are not the multi thousand dollar FLIR type camera.

  • Or any number of other things that can obscure your face. Far cheaper and more effective.

    I personally favour a bandana, enabling me to look like I'm about to hold up the stagecoach.

    • Bandanas and other face coverings make you look like a criminal about to commit a crime, and aren't allowed in many places. Weird glasses just make you look like a hipster or Kanye West fan.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Take a regular TV IR remote control and point it at your smartphone camera. You'll notice on your phone's screen that the LED lights up quite brightly.
     
    You will be walking around a town with several of these things attached to your face, shining away happily. Do you not think anybody will notice?
     
    This is the tech equivalent of Peter Griffin dressing in the clown costume while in the jungle, stating that "they're going to be looking for Army guys."

  • I also have developed a type of invisibility glasses, though they're slightly different in terms of technology and function. Instead of making me "invisible" to certain types of camera, it makes all of *you* invisible to *me* when I'm wearing them. Also everything around you. And also it's really a blindfold. But hey, I like it...

  • This will end up being considered suspicious behavior and you will be stopped and ID'd, doesn't matter that you haven't done anything wrong. Not only that but now you have made it EASIER for the network of cameras to track your movement because unless significant numbers of people are wearing these you are going to stand out like a full moon, at night, with clear skies, viewed from somewhere at high altitude away from light pollution.
  • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Monday March 02, 2015 @09:32AM (#49163557) Journal
    You can already buy identity concealing glasses. They work by projecting a false set of the facial landmarks used by facial recognition software while obscuring your own.

    Best of all, you can get them at the dollar store [wikipedia.org].
  • Are these the glasses that AVG big-wigs wear when they set up their affiliate toolbar installer program, or the "AVG Secure Seal" badges they use to endorse malware sites as "secure"?

  • Would they be more or less effective than these? It'd be hard to beat that price point.
  • Unfortunately, they install the AVG toolbar on your forehead when you put them on.
  • If the point of the IR lights is to overexpose a camera that's IR sensitive, wouldn't this light them up like a Christmas tree? I wouldn't think that the kind of person who wants to hide their identity would be interested in wearing a big neon sign that says "Look at meee!!!" to any security guards monitoring those cameras....

  • So, this is an announcement for a product that doesn't actually exist, and which wouldn't even work given the two points made on the site! You need the photo to be taken using a flash, and for the camera to not have an IR filter or decent exposure software. I guess that does take out a lot of the crappy photos of people our partying at least.

    Personally, I think a better idea for a time when this might actually be useful, say attending an anti--capitalism rally, would be to cut out a mask using the front pac

  • a $1.00 pair of mirrored lense sunglasses will also do this. Sorry AVG, your best and brightest are way behind the curve.

    If you want to make their version, buy retroreflective tape and apply to your face or a set of cheap sunglasses.

  • It is very well known that if you smear face with lemon juice the security camera can not record your face. Don't believe it? Have you done the invisible writing trick when you were a kid using lemon juice. Same principle. Many well known crooks have used this method. [mindhacks.com]Big universities are studying the method.

    More citations:

    http://awesci.com/the-astonish... [awesci.com]

    http://gagne.homedns.org/~tgag... [homedns.org]

    • by mark-t ( 151149 )
      By all reasoning, if the trick actually worked that well, then the crooks that used the technique wouldn't be "well known" at all.
  • Can this be used to block license plate readers? I can see that being a useful application for this technology.
  • Looks very chic [moviesaddicts.com]!
  • Seeing that AVG is now in the bloatware business they will have to make these from solid lead.

    Joking aside, this might be the first AVG product that I have wanted in years. The only problem is that camera people can solve this by putting IR filters on their cameras.
  • I always wondered how the heck a pair of glasses could make it impossible for everyone around him to realize that he was Superman...
    • Dress a little nerdy, put on some out of fashion glasses and lose Superman's confidence and bingo he's socially invisible. Being mild mannered, as Clark Kent makes him as attention grabbing as a potted plant. Anyone thinking that bright lights that obscure your image on camera will lower your surveillance profile could take a lesson from Clark Kent. Infrared lights might have some value to someone actually committing a crime, but that just makes them that much more attention worthy for a daily wearer wishin

  • Many states have laws on the books, rarely enforced, that make it a crime to hide your face by wearing any kind of mask in public. In the past, this has been about masked bandits. In the near future, you will be arrested for wearing these "invisibility" (IR or whatever) glasses in public. There will be sensors to detect when you're wearing them, and a handheld app for tagging you. The result will be a physical intervention (guard or policeman comes over to you) or correlation with your communications device

  • At least to women in any bar or any other social setting in the US.

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