US agency: Pandemic masks thwarting face recognition tech

added 29.07.2020 08:31

NIST's preliminary study says what masks people wear, and how they wear them, makes a difference to facial recognition systems.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, some governments had sought technology to recognise people when they tried to conceal their faces.

It tested the software by drawing digital masks onto the faces in a trove of border crossing photographs, and then compared those photos against another database of unmasked people seeking visas and other immigration benefits.

Its preliminary study examined only those algorithms created before the pandemic, but its next step is to look at how accuracy could improve as commercial providers adapt their technology to an era when so many people are wearing masks.

A preliminary study published by a US agency on Monday found that even the best commercial facial recognition systems have error rates as high as 50% when trying to identify masked faces.

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