Data privacy concerns are not a laughing matter. In a world where we have been so dependent on the web which made us more connected to one another more than ever, it is a must to have one’s personal data privacy in top priority.
It is no secret that companies nowadays can harvest large amounts of data that are collected from users around the world. After being collated and rounded up, they’ll be sold to any company willing to pay the price. Data that are being reportedly sold and have the potential to be maliciously used include a person’s email, address, name, and even face.
Imagine a company has a hold of your data without you knowing would just send you chills down to your spine.
However, researchers over the Sand Lab of the University of Chicago has been able to develop a piece of technology to combat possible data privacy breach when it comes to facial recognition.
Dubbed as Fawkes, after the Guy Fawkes masks are worn and extensively featured on the film V for Vendetta, it slightly alters your pictures which fools traditional facial recognition tools.
How this works may look simple but a lot happens behind the scenes.
If you want to use the program on your pictures, it’ll make subtle changes on your face that one cannot notice in a single glance. These changes will disable facial recognition tools of identifying you from their database.
Researchers over the University of Chicago call this ‘cloaking’. This process ultimately disarms current companies who have a tech on facial recognition including Clearview AI which claims to have a large database of faces collected from social media sites such as Facebook and streaming platform Youtube.
According to a report on the Verge, Ben Zhao, one of the people who helped to create Fawkes, claimed that ‘once the corruption [cloaking] happens, you are continuously protected no matter where you go or are seen’.
Will Fawkes serve as the answer to the data privacy question? Most certainly not. It will take time for the technology to be fully integrated and adapted by large companies in order to secure success in implementation.
Also, it is noted that only a few, tech-savvy individuals will be able to avail the platform which leads to a larger gap in society.
In order for us to be able to protect one another, we should band together, hand in hand, to achieving this hefty goal.
Fawkes has been released free of charge and is available for download for your PC or Mac. It has been reportedly downloaded by more than 100,000 users worldwide.