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This Algorithm Might Make Facial Recognition Obsolete

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In 2020, it’s worth assuming that every status update and selfie you upload online can eventually make its way into the hands of an obscure data-mining third party, into the hands of national authorities, or both.

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On the flip side, being aware of exactly how shitty these companies are has prompted a lot of folks to come up with new, creative ways to slip out of this sort of surveillance. And while some of these methods—like, say, wearing masks or loading up on face paint could theoretically keep your photos from being pilfered, you’re also left with photos that don’t look much like you at all. But now, a team from the University of Chicago has come up with a much subtler tactic that still effectively fights back against these sorts of snooping algorithms.

Called “Fawkes”—an homage to the Guy Fawkes mask that’s become somewhat synonymous with the aptly named online collective Anonymous—the Chicago team initially started working on the system at the tail end of last year as a way to thwart companies like Clearview AI that compile their face-filled databases by scraping public posts.

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“It is our belief that Clearview.ai is likely only the (rather large) tip of the iceberg,” the team wrote. “If we can reduce the accuracy of these models to make them untrustworthy, or force the model’s owners to pay significant per-person costs to maintain accuracy, then we would have largely succeeded.”

See, when a facial recognition company like Clearview is trained to recognize a given person’s appearance, that recognition happens by connecting one picture of a face (ie, from a Facebook profile) to another picture of a face (ie, from a passport photo), and finding similarities between the two photos. According to the Chicago team, this doesn’t only mean finding matching facial geometry or matching hair color or matching moles, but it also means picking up on invisible relationships between the pixels that make up a computer-generated picture of that face.

By swapping out or distorting some of these pixels, the face might still be recognizable to you or me, but it would register as an entirely different person to just about every popular facial recognition algo. According to the team’s research, this “cloaking” technique managed to fool the facial recognition systems peddled by Microsoft, Amazon, and Google 100% of the time.

If you want to give this algo a whirl yourself, the good news is that the U. Chicago team has the Fawkes program freely available for download on their website. If you have a picture you want to protect from snoopers or scrapers, you can load them into Fawkes, which then jumbles those unseen pixels in about 40 seconds per photograph, according to the researchers.

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You can then upload the new, secretly scrambled photo to your social media platform of choice with the knowledge that if, say, a company like Clearview comes scraping through your public photos, then this particular picture likely won’t be connected to any of your other digital details online.

Granted, the Fawkes program isn’t supposed to be a silver bullet against these companies or any others. Rather, it’s supposed to be a pain in the ass for the companies involved. “Fawkes is designed to significantly raise the costs of building and maintaining accurate models for large-scale facial recognition,” they write, pointing out that any of us would be more capable of “identifying [a] target person in equal or less time” using our own two eyes instead of using facial recognition software.

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But quite frankly, any move that makes the business of face-data collection any less profitable is a win in my book.

Source : Gizmodo Read More

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Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

White Wireless Charge Lamp | $18 | Amazon | Clip coupon + code ABC88699
Black Wireless Charger Lamp | $20 | Amazon | Promo code ABC88699

When you’re ready to turn in for the night, you don’t want to forget to charge your phone— especially if your mobile device doubles as your alarm clock.

With this wireless charger lamp, you can make this crucial step of your nightly routine even easier by just setting your phone on the wireless charging pad and… well, that’s all there is to it!

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Other functions include multiple lighting modes as well as a sleep timer option for auto shut-off of the light after 30 or 60 minutes.

This lamp can be yours in white for $18 if you clip the coupon on Amazon (it’s below the original $40 price) and add promo code ABC88699 at checkout.

You can snag the black version for $20 using the same code—no coupon though, sorry.

Don’t sleep on this deal! Who knows how long stock or the coupon code will last?

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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