Can’t see me! Hideous glasses protect you from facial recognition cameras

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LED privacy glasses

Marketing technology is getting too close for comfort, and while reaching for your invisibility cloak might not be an option (or is it?), a Japanese research team from the National Institute of Informatics created a pair of glasses that can help protect your privacy.

Facial recognition software is seeing use from number of retailers and other industries to collect more data on who is doing what. It can tell people your body type and age, and it can identify you. Scary stuff when all you want to do is walk through the mall with some friends.

Kanye West shadesThat’s where these glasses factor in. They’re not the most appealing, and likely won’t be adopted by the masses as they look like protective laboratory glasses (which may actually be in style, see picture right). But if the idea of reliving those horrific 8 a.m. college chemistry lab classes when you were totally an art history major doesn’t get your fashion-blood pumping, get this: It has lights. Purple LED lights that are meant to obscure your face and not your vision. In order to keep the LED lights working, you carry around a small power supply in your pocket.

Someone get me to a runway.

In order to protect you from scans, the lights add extra image noise to a photo of you,that will confuse facial recognition software into believing your face doesn’t exist. Thus, it cannot collect data on you.

It’s a start for those who are truly paranoid, and with invasive marketing technology making their way into mainstream markets, I don’t blame anyone who wears them. Take the EyeSee Mannequins, as the BBC points out. These mannequins have a camera hidden in one of their eyeballs. The camera snaps pictures of anyone who walks by and runs those pictures through facial recognition software. It can tell you how many people visited your store in a day, what race they were, how old they were, their gender, and likely information about their body type.

And, of course, there’s facial recognition technology that can identify you as a person. Facebook is an example of that.

Glasses image via the National Institute of Informatics, Kanye West photo via SOCIALisBETTER/Flickr

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