Feature

This AI privacy tool protects your selfies

The tool makes subtle changes to your photos to trick facial recognition systems

Innovation.

Each week, we spotlight a cool innovation recommended by some of the industry's top tech writers. This week's pick is a new AI privacy software.

A new software tool can "cloak" your selfies to trick facial recognition systems, said James Vincent at The Verge​. Scientists at the University of Chicago designed new AI privacy software to combat the proliferation of commercial facial recognition systems that scrape people's images off social media, such as Clearview AI.

Courtesy image

Their tool — named Fawkes after the Guy Fawkes masks adopted by some hackers and ­revolutionaries — makes subtle enough changes to your photos "so that any algorithm scanning those images in the future sees you as a different person altogether." Some early trials did reveal flaws. A New York Times tester found that she looked "ghoulish," and her husband "appeared to have a black eye." But Fawkes says "the updated algorithm is much more subtle, and The Verge's own tests agree with this."

This article was first published in the latest issue of The Week magazine. If you want to read more like it, you can try six risk-free issues of the magazine here.

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