3D Printed Models A Threat to Facial Recognition Security Systems

With the good and great comes the bad and worse.  The first time I heard of 3D printing was when someone successfully printed a weapon (actually the parts needed to build a weapon).  That story gave me considerable pause yet I couldn’t help but think there’s more that can be done with the technology we haven’t heard yet.  I was right.

So, along with the amazing and miraculous stories, I cannot leave out the ones that dampen down my enthusiasm.  It would be irresponsible not to include them here.

There are several techniques behind facial recognition systems: algorithms that study the relative position of facial landmarks, 3D recognition that observes the unique topography of a face, skin texture analysis and even thermal cameras.  The most common systems use the traditional algorithms that rely on a catalogue of facial features.  These security system are used by the law enforcement institutions such as the FBI and local police.  Walmart even tested a system in 2015 to pick out suspected shoplifters.

Okay, very cool.  So, what’s the problem?  Turns out that all those photos you post on Facebook, Instagram, etc. can be used to create a 3D model of your face.  Some folks at the University of North Carolina have shown that a 3D model created from one good headshot can make it past 80% of facial recognition systems.  Given the improvement needed in this industry, there are plenty of opportunities for ambitious facial recognition software developers.

Much more detail available HERE.

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