Facebook-fooling shirts to foil auto-tagging




Straight out of a William Gibson book.


I was thinking of A Scanner Darkly.


So. Four Michael Jacksons and one Barack Obama are walking down the street… Love it.


That’s a really tough call… having to spend a day wearing clothes with Michael Jackson on them, or allow facebook algorithms to identify me.

Not sure which is worse!


I take a lot of pictures of food. Some of the auto-tag misidentifications are pretty hilarious.


The ugly T-shirt is deep. Deep and bad to know…


That explains why in my news-feed facebook keeps suggesting friends to tag in friends’ photos. Apart from the sex all the suggestions have been dead wrong, like not even the right hair colour wrong.


I am sure it will be possible soon to build flexible video monitors into garments. So you could write software which continuously cycles between images of different faces, possibly just the faces of passing people. At a high frame rate it would look like a blur to any human eye, but cameras will catch the images and try to interpret them.


THAT explains why my friends have been calling me “cabbage head”.


… depends on how baggy the shirt is on the wearer: the tighter the
better for giving Facebook’s software something …

Oh, great. Yet more clothes for the already gorgeous. What about those of us who don’t want to emphasise our eccentric bumpinesses with figure emphasising clothing?


One of these with other characters cannot be far off the horizon, I propose one with Lemmy Motorhead, Karl Pilkington and Jimmy Swaggart.


Four Michael Jacksons and Barack Obama walk into a bar…there’s a joke in there somewhere.


I like that it detected the ratatouille soup of Michael Jackson’s fugly face parts on the bottom left, but not the one on the left sleeve.


I don’t see how this would stop it from still picking your face up, unless there’s a limit to the number of faces it detects in a single image?


Are you Quentin Letts?



Wouldn’t it be safer to have multiple photos of James Clapper? There’s probably some kind of Facebook exemption for tagging him. How about multiple pix of Snowden, so he can be identified simultaneously everywhere and nowhere?


I’ll offer this quote from the original article, which addresses both of these comments:

Inspired in part by the “ugly t-shirt,” a garment dreamed up by William Gibson that would provide invisibility to CCTV surveillance, Niquille thinks of her shirts as “facial recognition dazzle,” referring to a unique brand of camouflage employed by ships in World War I. Pioneered by artist Norman Wilksinson, dazzle camouflage involved covering warships in conflicting geometric patterns to throw off an enemy combatant’s ability to gauge their speed, range, size and heading. “The shirts attempt a similar strategy. They won’t keep your face from being recognized, but they will offer distraction,”

So yes, inspired directly by Gibson’s shirt, and it’s not so much about stopping you from being recognized, but it also means that you’re being tagged in a picture with 4 Michael Jacksons and 3 Barack Obamas, which might be an interesting way to skew the data collection (an automated algorithm might ignore the photo because it has other obvious junk data in it).


Not even gonna ask about the grilled cheese sandwich.


And who says we’ve moved away from Capitalism! 65 bucks! Just so your name isn’t on a photo.