AVG Has Invented ‘Invisibility Glasses’ That Block Facial Recognition Software

Facial recognition software is becoming a point of increasing concern among security experts and privacy advocates. The tech industry is throwing an enormous amount of money at improving what’s already a powerful set of software tools, and there’s a question of knowledge and consent; do you really want just any jackass on the street to know who you are at a glance? But while we hash out those ethical concerns, AVG has a pair of glasses that will render them moot.

AVG’s approach to keeping software out of your face is twofold. First, infrared LEDs are attached to the glasses which overexpose certain parts of your face, such as around your eyes and nose. It creates white spots that the software can’t work around, at least at the moment. Secondly, they’re coated in a reflective material, so if a camera flash goes off in your face, the eyes and nose area are essentially whited out.

This isn’t ideal. If a camera has a strong infrared filter, it can remove the interference the LEDs generate, and the reflective material needs a camera flash to work. It also won’t make it impossible for a human to look at your face and realize who you are. That said, though, it does highlight a few weaknesses in the software that are worth being aware of, and it will hopefully keep up the discussion about where, and when, this software should be used.