Pixelated Balaclava Against Face Recognition; new Java exploit (and EE tip)

German artist creates pixelated balaclava to confuse face-recognition cameras. It’s a neat idea… sadly, as implemented, you can’t really wear it in public without looking like a bank robber stuck in a ’90s first-person shooter.

However, the guy may be on the right track: that you’re wearing a camera countermeasure might not be noticeable from a distance or if you’re a face in a large crowd. By comparison, the previously-linked anti-recogition makeup and hair styling is highly distinctive.

Side note: there’s a new and major Java exploit making the rounds, you probably want to turn Java off: https://threatpost.com/en_us/blogs/details-new-java-exploit-emerge-082712

EE tip: I have a spectrum analyzer again! It’s not much, by the standards of real units — ~0.2Hz to 40Mhz, abysmal dynamic range — but it turns out the DSO QUAD’s “community edition” firmware includes a very functional FFT and spectrogram (!) capability. There’s also an app for plotting frequency & phase response of a circuit under test, using the DSO’s built-in signal generator.


“A German artist has created a pixellated balaclava, perfect for confusing street cameras in a nation where mistrust of public surveillance is widespread even as the appetite for Facebook is unabated. [unabated, maybe, but modulated by a strong desire to see FB improve their privacy policy, see the recent legal actions against FB by the German government. –E]

Pixelhead – disturbing to wear when looking in a mirror – is designed to raise questions about anonymity and when and how we give that up, whether voluntarily on social networks, or involuntarily via street cameras.

Backes, a digital media artist among many other things, says he has created “media camouflage for the internet age” and a solution for people “sick of photos on sites like Facebook or worried about showing up on Streetview.”

It is based on a photograph of Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, a sideways poke at the man responsible for keeping an eye on Germany.

The balaclava does not only hide the wearer’s face – it specifically shows up that disguise in the most modernist fashion.[…]

Even if it is a shouted kind of anonymity, the balaclava does hide the wearer, whether it is worn during a political protest, while dashing to meet an illicit lover or holding up a bank.”


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