Researchers from the University of Chicago’s Sand Lab have developed a tool capable of thwarting facial recognition software.

The “Fawkes” algorithm — so called for the Guy Fawkes masks worn by groups such as Anonymous and inspired by the novel "V for Vendetta" — uses artificial intelligence (AI) to cloak facial images on social media, thereby making them unrecognizable to facial recognition software.

Source: University of Chicago's Sand LabSource: University of Chicago's Sand Lab

The cloaking mechanism reportedly achieved a success rate of 100% when tested against facial recognition software, including Amazon’s Rekognition, Microsoft’s Azure Face and Megvii’s Face++. Additionally, the cloaking alterations to the images were almost entirely undetectable to the human eye.

The technology was designed to maintain online privacy, especially as facial recognition is increasingly used at airports, on social media and by law enforcement.

For more on the Fawkes algorithm, watch the accompanying video that appears courtesy of the University of Chicago’s Sand Lab.

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