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Masks & Photographs Can Fool Facial Recognition Technology & That’s A Huge Problem

By Parker Diakite

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According to a new test from the artificial intelligence company Kneron, masks and photographs can easily fool facial recognition technology.

The team traveled to various public locations to trick facial recognition terminals into allowing payments and gaining access inside different transportation hubs.

In one experiment in Asia, Kneron used high-quality 3-D masks to successfully make purchases on the payment systems AliPay and WeChat.  

But what’s more concerning among the analysts were the test results from transportation hubs. 

At the self-boarding terminal in Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands,  the Kneron team managed to trick the sensor by using a photo on a phone screen. The team also confirmed that they were able to gain access inside rail stations in China where commuters use facial recognition to pay their fares and board trains, as reported in Fortune.

The experiments done by Kneron raises concerns about terrorism at a time when airports across the country are starting to explore with facial recognition technology.

“This shows the threat to the privacy of users with sub-par facial recognition that is masquerading as “AI”.” Kneron’s CEO Albert Liu said to Fortune. “The technology is available to fix these issues but firms have not upgraded it. They are taking shortcuts at the expense of security.”

In the case of the masks, the deceptions worked because the facial recognition system already contained an image of the person on whose face the mask was based.

Kneron acknowledged that the deceptions were successful because the facial recognition systems already contained an image of the person on whose face the mask was based.

The team added that such fraud is unlikely to be widespread because the masks used in the experiment were obtained from unique mask makers in Japan. However, the company notes the mask technique could be used to defraud famous or wealthy individuals.

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