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To thwart face recognition, maybe just wear Juggalo makeup

To thwart face recognition, maybe just wear Juggalo makeup
[Photo: Flickr user SullyDC]

Back in 2009, the clever businessmen known as the Insane Clown Posse sang about coming up with “somet’in’ special for you and yo face.” Turns out that “somet’in’ special” may have been blocking facial recognition technology with Juggalo face paint.

According to Twitter user @Takhion, who figured this out (it has since been reported on Yahoo), the stark black-and-white clown makeup favored by Juggalos and Juggalettes makes it nearly impossible for many facial recognition systems to do their dirty work. Most facial recognition systems—reportedly, including the one purchased by Ticketmaster and Live Nation last year—identify faces by comparing the eyes, nose, and chin and areas of light contrast to a database of images. That doesn’t work, though, if the person’s eyes, nose, and chin are covered in black and white face paint, which distort the facial features on camera, causing the technology to misidentify at least the jawline and perhaps the eye area.

Of course, that’s not the only way that facial recognition software works. For instance, Apple’s Face ID relies on depth perception instead of contrast, so presumably for any ninjas and ninjettes with both elaborate face painting and an iPhone X, Apple’s Face ID should still work. Since the FBI has been following the antics and activities of the Insane Clown Posse for quite some time, it would also not be surprising if the ICP appreciated this new way of protecting their identities from The Man.

Juggalo makeup is just the latest (and greatest) method that might confound facial recognition algorithms. Some artists have created portraits that thwart facial-recognition software, and activists have also been working to develops ways to confuse the technology.

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