Researchers develop AI to fool facial recognition tech

A team from the University of Toronto has created an algorithm to disrupt the technology

AI artificial intelligence

A team of engineering researchers from the University of Toronto have created an algorithm to dynamically disrupt facial recognition systems.

Led by professor Parham Aarabi and graduate student Avishek Bose, the team used a deep learning technique called "adversarial training", which pits two artificial intelligence algorithms against each other.

Aarabi and Bose designed a set of two neural networks, the first one identifies faces and the other works on disrupting the facial recognition task of the first. The two constantly battle and learn from each other, setting up an ongoing AI arms race.

"The disruptive AI can 'attack' what the neural net for the face detection is looking for," Bose said in an interview with Eureka Alert.

"If the detection AI is looking for the corner of the eyes, for example, it adjusts the corner of the eyes so they're less noticeable. It creates very subtle disturbances in the photo, but to the detector, they're significant enough to fool the system."

The result looks similar to an Instagram filter that can be applied to photos to protect privacy. The algorithm targets very specific pixels in the image, making subtle changes that are almost imperceptible to the human eye.

"The key here was to train the two neural networks against each other, with one creating an increasingly robust facial detection system, and the other creating an ever stronger tool to disable facial detection," added Bose.

Concerns over privacy and data security are high with questions being asked of the likes of Google, Amazon and the Metropolitan Police in London who are implementing and providing facial recognition technology.

Google has unveiled doorbells that use facial recognition cameras, which will go on sale in British suburbs, raising concerns about invasion of privacy.

Amazon has come under fire from the American Civil liberties Union (ACLU) and others for providing the US police force with its facial recognition software.

London's Met police were said to be using 'dangerously inaccurate' facial recognition technology that is claimed to have a failure rate of 98%.

Aarabi believes 'anti' facial recognition systems can benefit personal privacy as the neural nets become more and more advanced.

"Personal privacy is a real issue as facial recognition becomes better and better," added Aarabi. "This is one way in which beneficial anti-facial-recognition systems can combat that ability."

"Ten years ago these algorithms would have to be human-defined, but now neural nets learn by themselves, you don't need to supply them anything except training data.

"In the end, they can do some really amazing things. It's a fascinating time in the field, there's enormous potential."

Image credit: Shutterstock 

Featured Resources

Five lessons learned from the pivot to a distributed workforce

Delivering continuity and scale with a remote work strategy

Download now

Connected experiences in a digital transformation

Enable businesses to meet the demands of the future

Download now

Simplify to secure

Reduce complexity by integrating your security ecosystem

Download now

Enhance the safety and security of your people, assets and operations

Enable a true vision of security with an engineered solution based on hyperconverged and storage platforms

Download now

Recommended

MarqVision detects counterfeit products with deep learning and AI
intellectual property

MarqVision detects counterfeit products with deep learning and AI

18 Sep 2020
How to protect against a DDoS attack
Security

How to protect against a DDoS attack

17 Sep 2020
What is ethical AI?
artificial intelligence (AI)

What is ethical AI?

9 Sep 2020
IT Pro Live: The Now and the Next
Technology

IT Pro Live: The Now and the Next

1 Sep 2020

Most Popular

Accenture ploughs $3 billion into cloud migration support group
digital transformation

Accenture ploughs $3 billion into cloud migration support group

17 Sep 2020
Google takes on Zoom with launch of Meet hardware
video conferencing

Google takes on Zoom with launch of Meet hardware

16 Sep 2020
16 ways to speed up your laptop
Laptops

16 ways to speed up your laptop

16 Sep 2020