Facial Recognition Programs Are Getting Better at Recognizing Masked Faces

Time to add a hat and sunglasses!

by J.D. Tuccille

Pandemic-wear face masks may not be quite as effective a barrier to surveillance as we hoped. While fabric face coverings certainly pose challenges to facial-recognition technology, U.S. government researchers say that improving software specifically intended to account for obscured features has reduced the error rate and made it easier to identify people whose faces are partially concealed.

So, you’ll need to add sunglasses and a hat to your privacy-enhancing ensemble to confidently thwart the best efforts of the snoops.

“A new study of face recognition technology created after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic shows that some software developers have made demonstrable progress at recognizing masked faces,” the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced this week.

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