Dutch artist Tijmen Schep has created an online game around face recognition technology called areyouyou.eu. The game challenges you to fool a face recognition algorithm by creating funny faces.
The game lets you experience how well - or how poorly - these face recognition systems work. For one thing, the algorithms are almost never 100% certain. Unfortunately these matches are often taken very seriously by law enforcement. In 2019 this lead to the first publicised false arrest. In 2020 an innocent man from New Jersey spent the night in jail because the police could not be convinced their technology might have made a mistake.
Not only does the game question the reliability of the technology, it also points to further issue: people might self-censor their behaviour because they fear the may be tracked, and this could lead to repercussions. For example, would you be be less likely to visit the Red Light District or join a protest march if you knew there were face recognition camera’s watching you, and your presence there might be used against you at some later date?
AreYouYou was made possible with support from the European Union. For the past two years Schep has been working as an artist in residence with Sherpa, a European research consortium that advises the European Commission on how AI systems might better protect human rights. One of SHERPA’s recommendations is to create a ban on large scale urban face recognition systems.
Currently there is a wider European campaign to limit the use of face recognition technology in public spaces, called "Reclaim your face". This game supports that campaign.
The work is a follow-up to “How Normal Am I?”, an interactive documentary about face detection technology that was launched in October, and has since been viewed over 650.000 times.
Try it yourself at www.AreYouYou.eu
Artist, technology critic and privacy designer
RECLAIM YOUR FACE
Contact Andrea Belu to learn more about this campaign: andreea dot belu at edri.org
The following portrait may be used if the photographer is mentioned: CC BY Giorgos Gripeos
(Tijmen Schep, 1981)
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