Preventing the Invasion of Privacy

There’s a lot of discussion around how wearable technology impacts our notion of privacy. From our body metrics to data about who we are, where we’ve been and who we know, software and services that use the data can quickly blur the lines. There are many aspects to privacy, but let’s take photos for instance. Facial recognition is increasingly used online and in real life by law enforcement, social networks, Internet search engines and even for retail marketing purpose. If everyone has a camera and can snap a picture at any time, how can we remain anonymous?

Tokyo’s National Institute scientists created the first Privacy Visor to address this growing concern. The silly-looking glasses could make you invisible to facial recognition technology. One of the scientists, Isao Echizen, said that “essential measures for preventing the invasion of privacy caused by photographs taken in secret and unintentional capture in camera images is now required.” By wearing this “privacy visor”, still in the prototype stage, people can control if they want to be recognized or not.

But what if you’re in a situation where you want your photo to be taken such as at a party or event? So what is the happy medium between remaining anonymous and spontaneously sharing our experiences?

How does it work? The glasses use near-infrared light sources to disrupt the facial-recognition software without affecting his or her visions. Lights create interferences across key areas needed to identify your face (like eyes or nose). Goggles are connected via a wire to a power battery supply in the pocket.

Would you wear it? Personally, I wouldn’t. Of course people want to control if, when, and how their image is used. But the design of the Privacy Visor is bulky, awkward, and just plane goofy looking. It’s almost as if it was designed for people to broadcast that they have something to hide since it’s not discreet in any way. What do you think? Would you buy and wear this type of product?

Related concepts This isn’t the only privacy-focused concept. Adam Harvey created an anti-surveillance clothing line that blocks cell tracking and drones. What are other concepts that help people remain anonymous?

More info and image via Slate.