back to article Defense against the Darknet, or how to accessorize to defeat video surveillance

A trio of Belgium-based boffins have created a ward that renders wearers unrecognizable to software trained to detect people. In a research paper distributed through ArXiv in advance of its presentation at computer vision workshop CV-COPS 2019, Simen Thys, Wiebe Van Ranst and Toon Goedeme from KU Leuven describe how some …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge

    So a hoodie and dark sunglasses aren't enough to hide behind. Maybe need a t-shirt with the face of a well known person on it? I'm not sure what this research is for though since surveillance cameras are used for catching the bad guys unless is part of the big brother thing to watch everyone all the time and track our movements.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      T-shirt with a QR code pointing to goat.cx / ISIS video / Wikileaks

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      They're trying to fool the system into thinking there is NO person there: for situations such as intrusion detection where it's less WHO is there and more IS someone there.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        They're trying to fool the system into thinking there is NO person there: for situations such as intrusion detection where it's less WHO is there and more IS someone there.

        That's not what Darknet / YOLOv2 systems are typically used for. If you just want to know if "a person is there", a cheap, reliable ultrasonic motion detector is a better starting point. You can do some image capture and recognition if you want to remove false positives (other animals, curtains or plants blowing in the wind, etc), but for those cases YOLO is not the best approach.

        YOLO is intended specifically for high performance, so it can be used in streaming applications where a large number of objects need to be identified quickly for further processing.

        Their attack (when successful) prevents Darknet from finding the patch bounding the protected person in the image stream. That's an effective defense against identification, and that's the case where this attack is useful.

    3. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      since surveillance cameras are used for catching the bad guys

      you just carry on believing that.

    4. eldakka Silver badge
      Holmes

      The point of this research is to prevent the cameras from detecting that a a human is in the footage.

      Motion-detecting security cameras are getting to the point that they can distinguish between a person walking in front of them - must record - versus a non-interesting moving objects such as a tree swaying in the wind, a dog/cat/other small animal walking in front, which are "don't record" events.

      Therefore you don't need a hoody and sunglasses, which are used to hide the identity of a recorded human, as the system won't have recorded the event at all since it hasn't recognised a human at all as passed across it. Therefore the fact a human was ever there, let alone their identity, never registers.

      1. SNAFUology
        Holmes

        Infrared Sensor Camera combo

        an Infrared light sensor, typically used to turn lights on outside the home, in conjunction with a camera & detection software will help identify humans, as few things with that size IR print would be anything else in say a shopping center or business foyer, maybe a country carnival or Easter fair would have animals such as cows & horses in view - Dogs would be low to the ground and could be detected by the software.

        just depends on the fineness of the IR sensor to differentiate individuals, tho as it would be working with camera & softwate it could be worth a try

        1. Kiwi Silver badge

          Re: Infrared Sensor Camera combo

          an Infrared light sensor, typically used to turn lights on outside the home, in conjunction with a camera & detection software will help identify humans, as few things with that size IR print would be anything else in say a shopping center or business foyer, maybe a country carnival or Easter fair would have animals such as cows & horses in view - Dogs would be low to the ground and could be detected by the software.

          1) My cat triggers my sensor. He even has learned to do it when he wants in so we know he's there (ie if he comes up the drive he'll trip it but if he comes down the garden path he won't - so he sometimes comes down the garden path and walks far enough down the drive)

          2) I could crawl and be smaller than many breeds of dogs. Is it that easy to defeat some of these systems?

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Inside my house, I use a capacitance-based human detector. It's much more reliable and less prone to false positives than motion detectors. (It doesn't really detect humans specifically -- it detects the presence of large bodies, so big dogs and the like will still trigger it).

        1. jake Silver badge

          Inside my house ...

          ... I use the dawgs. Outside the house it's mostly the broodmares, with help from some of the dawgs. Not even the meth-heads from the Springs district bother us here at chez jake. Reliability is 100%, and there are no false positives.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Inside my house ...

            More like ONLY false positives!!! with the barking being 24hours/day

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Inside my house ...

              I'm sorry to hear that you and yours don't know how to properly train your dawgs. I assure you that mine only bark when they have something to report, and then quiet down when they have an adult's attention. Perhaps look into proper training for your critters? It's a lot easier than simply putting up with it for ten or more years!

  2. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Devil

    I'm investing in heavy metal record labels!!

    To defeat facial recognition, ll you have to do is walk around with a Black Sabbath, Scorpions or Poison album cover on a cord around your neck? It's probably at least as tasteful as most accessories you see on the street these days.

    (Icon pays homage to metal's patron diety.)

    1. Blazde

      Re: I'm investing in heavy metal record labels!!

      I'm suddenly getting a deep appreciation for just how ahead of his time Flavor Flav was

    2. Kiwi Silver badge

      Re: I'm investing in heavy metal record labels!!

      (Icon pays homage to metal's patron diety.)

      You got the diety completely wrong. None but the Creator God Himself could have invented something as glorious as Metal!

      (Think my neighbours need some education... Where's that volume dial hiding?)

  3. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    I fool those FR systems all the time...

    I just wear a HentaiDemon body suit with the extra wriggly tentacles.

    You can tell the anime lovers in the crowd by those whom try to shake a tentacle, or those that think a giant walking mass of writhing penii is too much by the ones running away in terror.

    I like waving random tentacles at the security cameras as I go past & laugh as the camera explodes in a total systems failure.

    Rule 34 FTW! =-D

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I fool those FR systems all the time...

      I am actually a Hentai Demon - I just wear a human body suit in public, so far it's working .....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I fool those FR systems all the time...

      hahahaha, I just Googled HentaiDemon. I was afraid to click any of the links, hahaha. Yikes!

    3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: I fool those FR systems all the time...

      I like waving random tentacles at the security cameras as I go past & laugh as the camera explodes in a total systems failure.

      Just avoid Milton Keynes or YOLO, thanks to Scorpion Stare.

      1. TimMaher

        Re: I fool those FR systems all the time...

        Actually.... just avoid Milton Keynes.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: I fool those FR systems all the time...

          And actually, Yolo is a good place to stop for fuel, a pee and a bite to eat :-)

  4. woodcruft

    security concerns

    I'm wondering if this technology could be used to disguise a couple of tough looking Russian guys with "Highly trained GRU assassin" tattooed on their foreheads and an interest in cathedrals from coming into the country.

    The Dutch with their cannabis and tulips have always presented a danger to us Brits. We need to send our aircraft carrier without any aircraft over to Holland post haste and tell them to behave themselves in no uncertain terms....or else!

    1. harmjschoonhoven

      Re: security concerns

      We need to send our aircraft carrier without any aircraft over to Holland post haste and tell them to behave themselves in no uncertain terms....or else!

      Nice try, but avoid collateral damage as more than one million tourists will visit this country of 17 million over the Easter Weekend to eh-hum sniff the tulips.

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: security concerns

        Sniff the tulips Eh? Nudge nudge, know what I mean?

    2. ghp

      Re: security concerns

      Where do the dutch come in?

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: security concerns

        It's easy to confuse Belgium and the Netherlands, especially if you've been eating Dutch brownies.

      2. I&I

        Re: security concerns

        Harwich?

    3. STOP_FORTH
      Black Helicopters

      Re: security concerns

      Our aircraft carrier is full of 'planes, you just can't see them. Or the pilots.

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: security concerns

        Don't you think that claim is a bit transparent?

        1. A.P. Veening

          Re: security concerns

          No more so than the new clothes of the emperor ;)

        2. Korev Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: security concerns

          Well, Stop_forth always was a bit of a fighter

          1. STOP_FORTH
            Joke

            Re: security concerns

            Stopforth Camel?

      2. hnwombat
        Joke

        Re: security concerns

        I suspect it is actually full of eels.

        1. TimMaher

          Re: security concerns

          If you were in Belgium that would be eels in green.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: security concerns

      The Dutch with their cannabis and tulips have always presented a danger to us Brits

      Let me guess - you were out smoking some during geography lessons, right?

      :)

      1. Simon B-52

        Little English.

        There's a long and rather pathetic history of the English (of which I am one) wilfully mis-spelling, mis-pronouncing and otherwise mis-naming foreign folk, things and places, born out of jingoistic nationalism - all the way from Hara-Kiri and Mafikeng to those whose crticism of Shamima Begum has no more depth than pretending an inability to pronounce her name.

        It's always seemed plain stupid to me, but plenty out there don't regard that as a downside.

        Maybe it was just sparking a blunt whilst skyving Geography, though I'm baffled as to the possible dangers of Tulips.

        1. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

          Re: Little English.

          I'm baffled as to the possible dangers of Tulips

          Tulips, especially Dutch ones, can cause speculative market bubbles and delusions and madness of the crowds.

          That's history and economics, not geography.

          1. Simon B-52

            Tulips

            Thanks, it's been a long time since studied then forgot that!

            It seemed then to be the strangest of things for a bubble to grow on, maybe it made a welcome change from the long war the Dutch fought for their independence.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Tulips

              "It seemed then to be the strangest of things for a bubble to grow on, [...]"

              Unicorns?

              The Tulip Bubble and the South Sea Bubble have been repeated many times since.

              Basically a rogue trader selling the idea to a rich elite who then cash in by populist encouragement of the masses to invest. The latter are then left holding the worthless outcome when reality finally hits home. Sound familiar?

        2. serendipity

          Re: Little English.

          There's a long and rather pathetic history of self-loathing within the English (of which I am one) of which your comment is a fine exemplar. For starters, many 'foreign' names came into English via word of mouth, so it's not surprising they ended up mangled when they entered the language. It's not unique to English either which you'll know if you've ever studied a foreign language.

          As for Shamima Begum, I thing the majority of Brits (yeah I'm including the Welsh, Scots and Northern Irish) are critical of her because she has been (and still is) an active member and supporter of ISIS - a terror organisation let's not forget that murdered and enslaved people in despicable ways. Go tell the Yazidi women who were imprisoned as sex slaves that our criticism has no more depth than an inability to pronounce her name.

          You're talking bo**ocks, and it makes me wonder just exactly what sort of 'Inglish' you actually are?

          1. Simon B-52

            Presumptuous, Rude and Wrong

            Just to be very clear about this:

            I think Shamima Begum is a psycopathic snake - and that is the important thing, yet it seems like there are plenty of folk think that pretending stupidity wrt her name is more important than saying WHAT she has done and is doing that is so odious.

            It matters that our criticism of her is acute and focussed, otherwise it can come across as being simply dislike of the colour of her skin.

            But maybe that's the sort of English you are?

            I'm presuming you don't have a problem with me following your example and making some wild speculations?

            If I'm lucky I might even draw some completely wrong conclusions. . . .

          2. Simon B-52

            More importantly

            More importantly than our throwing mud at one another, more information is emerging as to what that particular jihadi was up to, and it's a great deal more serious than her "I was just a brainwashed minor" routine pretends. Just in case anyone found her to be other than completely lacking in credibility:

            https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/shamima-begum-isis-syria-morality-police-suicide-belts-a8869016.html

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Little English.

            "It's not unique to English either which you'll know if you've ever studied a foreign language."

            Even within "English" native speakers there can be confusion about how to pronounce some English words. It is not a strictly phonetic language eg Worcester, Leicester, Featherstonhaugh.

            A colleague had the family name of Kirkby - pronounced "Kerbee" in the UK. In Sweden he had to get used to the locals recognising it as one of their own - pronounced "Churkbu".

    5. jake Silver badge

      Re: security concerns

      "It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a highly trained GRU assassin."

      Somehow that doesn't have the right ring to it.

  5. LenG

    new fashion statement

    I can see us all wearing clothers patterned like wartime Dazzle ship camoflage.

    1. mikecoppicegreen

      Re: new fashion statement

      ... or berlin brigade camouflage.

  6. elvisimprsntr

    I wear a ghillie suit while in public. Fools em every time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Tried it. Dogs peed on me all the time.

      Cost/benefit analysis on that was really easy.

    2. TRT Silver badge
  7. jake Silver badge

    I'll take a tshirt ...

    ... it'll look good alongside my old "munitions" PGP-in-Perl shirt.

  8. Tim99 Silver badge

    Defense against the Darknet

    On a UK site, "Defence" please, but it sounds like Harry Potter either way?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Defense against the Darknet

      I don't think you lot's use of the "c" is defensible, given the Latin root of the word, defensa.

      And of course, ElReg is not a UK-only site ... Click the "Who we are" link below and I think you'll find that The Register is headquartered in London, San Francisco and Sydney and the sun never sets on its reporting team around the world.

      1. moooooooo

        Re: Defense against the Darknet

        well we speeel defence with a C in Australia too, so the majority wins yes?

        1. Lusty Silver badge

          Re: Defense against the Darknet

          No, the people who flooded the Internet and TV with content win. Every other nation is learning American English because that's what most content is written in that they'll access. The sooner we in the UK realise this the sooner we can all get on with our lives and standardise the language on the simplified US version. On the bright side, there will be a lot more words with Z in for playing Scrabble...

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Defense against the Darknet

            My Big Dic[0] mostly prefers the "z" splelings, damn your ise! What are you, French?

            Ah, well. It's all Greek to most people. As long as the meaning is obvious, does it really matter in a forum like this one?

            [0] OED, second dead tree edition.

          2. JimBob01

            Re: Defense against the Darknet

            I think the war was won well before www.

            US English has been used for the majority of "English as a second language” courses for a very long time. Maybe this is why that dialect has acheieved such widespread use since the explosion of the Inet?

            1. Wade Burchette

              Re: Defense against the Darknet

              If only we could change all words that end in "re" and "le" to "er" and "el" respectively. I always thought it was odd that words like "little" are pronounced as 'lit-el' not 'lit-lee', and "macabre" as 'ma-cab-er' not 'ma-cab-ree'.

              1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

                Re: Defense against the Darknet

                But "little" is NOT pronounced lit-el, even in the parts of the US with which I am familiar. In English it's pronounced "litl" with the most fleeting of vowels between t and l. In American it often comes over as "liddl". The same actually goes for metre (meet-uh), litre and macabre.

                The "le" is a sign that the l is dark (pronounced with the tongue way back from the front teeth) unlike the sound in "let", which is pronounced with the tongue up against the back of the teeth. (Russian does much the same; a dark l is signified by adding a soft sign after it.)

                In the same way "re" at the end of the word is a sign that the r is not rolled (the back of the throat isn't used to make it).

                English has retained this useful distinction; American has lost it in some places so we have meter and liter, but has retained it in little. On this occasion, English is more consistent.

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: Defense against the Darknet

                  But, but, but, but ... My OED says that metre, litre and macabre are French, not English.

                2. GrapeBunch Bronze badge
                  Pint

                  Re: Defense against the Darknet

                  I've been EFL for over six decades and did not know the difference between the L's. I've been pronouncing them differently and correctly, but unaware of it. Much less experience in Russian, but if it's the same phenomenon, then I've been over-stressing the difference between л and ль. I've been differentiating it about as much as between cannon and canyon.

                  Пиво надо выпить. Спасибо.

                3. Toni the terrible

                  Re: Defense against the Darknet

                  Isnt Lidl a supermarket?

              2. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

                Re: Defense against the Darknet

                "I always thought it was odd that words like "little" are pronounced as 'lit-el' not 'lit-lee'"

                We New Englanders pronounce it "liddel" just to add to the confusion. We pronounce "button" with a glottal stop for even more fun.

                "...and "macabre" as 'ma-cab-er' not 'ma-cab-ree'."

                I grew up pronouncing it more like "ma-kaab", just the first two syllables (how I was taught, don't blame me) and the other pronunciation I've heard is more like "ma-kab-rah" with the final syllable shortened somewhat -- that glottal stop again -- which always made more sense to me.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Defense against the Darknet

              US English has been used for the majority of "English as a second language” courses for a very long time. Maybe this is why that dialect has acheieved such widespread use since the explosion of the Inet?

              No, merely the abuse of a monopoly :). All computers default to American (OK, US English for the pedants) until set up for a proper language such as UK English et al. This made it a de facto standard for "English".

              Also, a curse on whoever invented AZERTY. I'm not sure which public sadism was earlier, having to access digits via shift (unless a numpad was available), or l'Histoire d'O, but it's from the same place. Not that they're alone in their messing with keyboards: in certain countries, programmers have to make do without a readily available # key, which tends to result in high after market sales of US layout keyboards.

              1. A.P. Veening

                Re: Defense against the Darknet

                Also, a curse on whoever invented AZERTY. I'm not sure which public sadism was earlier, having to access digits via shift (unless a numpad was available), or l'Histoire d'O, but it's from the same place.

                Just for your information, AZERTY predates computers and their keyboards by a considerable margin.

                The first commercial typewriters were introduced in 1874, but did not become common in offices until after the mid-1880s.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Defense against the Darknet

                  "[...] AZERTY predates computers [...]"

                  As does the German QWERTZ.

                  Back in the days of the EEC the terminal room in Centre de Calcul in Luxembourg had a mix of the different country variants. You either waited for your familiar one to become vacant - or took pot luck. The Olivetti ones were least liked as the key combinations for some terminal emulation control functions were very arcane.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Defense against the Darknet

                "in certain countries, programmers have to make do without a readily available # key,"

                The ones where Apple sells computers, yes. Amazingly programmers seem to prefer Apple devices despite the poor keyboard for the activity. But then, they also seem to prefer starbucks to a real office...

                1. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

                  Re: Defense against the Darknet

                  But then, they also seem to prefer starbucks to a real office...

                  ... or real coffee...

                2. Mike Moyle Silver badge

                  Re: Defense against the Darknet

                  " 'in certain countries, programmers have to make do without a readily available # key,'

                  "The ones where Apple sells computers, yes. Amazingly programmers seem to prefer Apple devices despite the poor keyboard for the activity."

                  Odd... "#" appears to be "Shift-3" on the Apple wireless keyboard in front of me AND on the HP keyboard to my right. And, while I couldn't swear to it, I'm pretty sure that my old 1960s-vintage Royal portable had the same setup.

                  Do Brit keyboards have a separate, single-purpose "#" key, or are you just trolling?

                  Oh... AC... Never mind. Puzzle solved.

                  1. Time Waster

                    Re: Defense against the Darknet

                    Yes. British keyboards (the same may be true of all non-Apple ISO layouts, though I can’t be certain) have a dedicated ‘#’ key. Also, for touch typists, ‘\’ / ‘|’ is significantly easier to reach than on American (ANSI) layouts. I’m actually surprised there isn’t a US ISO layout keyboard, which I would imagine most coders would (eventually) prefer.

                    1. jake Silver badge

                      Re: Defense against the Darknet

                      Most of the coders that I know re-map their keybr0ads to suit themselves. It's not exactly rocket surgery.

                    2. Kiwi Silver badge
                      Coat

                      Re: Defense against the Darknet

                      Yes. British keyboards (the same may be true of all non-Apple ISO layouts, though I can’t be certain) have a dedicated ‘#’ key.

                      Shift+3 on every QWERTY keyboard I've used. It's Shift-2 and Shift-4 that I've seen change (2 is the @/" IIRC and 4 is $/pound (the money not the weight (or in the case of my income, the wait, not the weight).

                      As Jake rightly says, remapping is quite easy. And fun when you 'accidentally' do it to someone who has forgotten how easy it is to alter :)

                      1. LewisRage

                        Re: Defense against the Darknet

                        British keyboard layout :

                        2 = "

                        3 = £

                        4 = $

                        On the logitech in front of me the # shares a key with ~ on the far right just below ] next to the return/enter key.

                        Whilst that matches the HP laptop layout next to me it isn't reliable; I have a bunch of computers in the office that have an annoyingly short/single key back space and the hash key sits between it and the =/+ key.

                    3. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Defense against the Darknet

                      I’m actually surprised there isn’t a US ISO layout keyboard, which I would imagine most coders would (eventually) prefer.

                      In the Netherlands, that is pretty much the default keyboard. I rather like the Apple International English keyboard layout that is the default for Mac.

                3. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Defense against the Darknet

                  The ones where Apple sells computers, yes. Amazingly programmers seem to prefer Apple devices despite the poor keyboard for the activity

                  Nope. PC. Swiss German keyboard. Absolutely excellent for typing in English, French and German because all your accented characters are within easy reach, but the # key requires the use of a non-shift modifier which is IMHO a bit annoying when coding (ditto for OSX, by the way, as I found out when I switched when working in Switzerland - OSX because it's a while back).

                  Before I got US layout keyboards I used to map the § key to the hash. I have in several decades of writing reports and other embarrassing stuff never found a need for that character, so it was at least a chance to do some wear levelling on my keyboard :).

                4. JohnFen Silver badge

                  Re: Defense against the Darknet

                  "programmers seem to prefer Apple devices despite the poor keyboard for the activity."

                  I am 100% sure that this is dependent on region. Where I live and work, I don't think I've seen any programmers using Apple devices at all. I'm sure they exist, but I don't remember seeing any. It's the suits who use Apple gear. But I've traveled to places where that's not the case.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Defense against the Darknet

              US English has been used for the majority of "English as a second language” courses for a very long time.

              Which is why I when living in California it was very difficult to communicate with people there who had English as a second language as they assume they ought to be able to understand English but my UK English accent and word usage completely lsot them .... once spent ages trying to order an ham and tomato sandwich over the phone until suddenly dawned on me that the "English as second language nerural net" had not been trained to recognize "tomahto" and as soon as I said "tomayto" the recognizer kicked in.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Defense against the Darknet

                "my UK English accent and word usage completely lsot them"

                If you speak the way you type, this Californian would be fairly "lsot", too.

                (The fast-food people, even the ESL ones, are quite used to the way we speak English here in California. Did it not occur to you that YOU were a foreigner, and the dude with the funny, hard to understand accent? Or do you assume that every English speaker, world-wide, should automatically be able to understand all the variations of English as they are spoken in the British Isles? And you call us "Ugly" when we are abroad? Furrfu!)

                1. the spectacularly refined chap

                  Re: Defense against the Darknet

                  Did it not occur to you that YOU were a foreigner, and the dude with the funny, hard to understand accent? Or do you assume that every English speaker, world-wide, should automatically be able to understand all the variations of English as they are spoken in the British Isles?

                  I'm reminded of a brief stint I did as tech support for T-Mobile USA. I recall a few callers asking "What state are you in?". I replied that I was actually in northern England and got the response "Oh no, that won't do, I need to speak to an American, someone who can speak ENGLISH..."

                  1. jake Silver badge

                    Re: Defense against the Darknet

                    And there is a reason for that. Accent and vernacular varies wildly just across the UK. The entire point of telephone support is to HELP the user, not force them to find a translator who speaks both Joisy and Yorkshire fluently.

                    This is why off-shoring tech support is so reviled ... contrary to popular belief it's not racism, rather it's a real, honest lack of being able to comprehend what the support staff are saying.

              2. Swarthy Silver badge
                Trollface

                Re: Defense against the Darknet

                Also, did you try to speak louder and slower until you were understood?

              3. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

                Re: Defense against the Darknet

                Then there was the time I was called upon to translate between a Frenchman and a German whose only common tongue was English.

                Turns out the German fellow had retired, so Marcel had to get his house wiring upgraded somewhere else. Which may have been just as well. Though I suppose in the end they would simply have gotten everything in writing.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Defense against the Darknet

                  "Then there was the time I was called upon to translate between a Frenchman and a German whose only common tongue was English."

                  In my experience people who have a late-learned foreign language can often use it as a link between different nationalities. However - to a native speaker it is somewhat incomprehensible.

                  1. Strebortrebor

                    Re: Defense against the Darknet

                    My experience, too. Formerly employed by an Italian manufacturer, was over there for training a couple of times. The official language of the company was English. The German guy, the French guy, the Italian guy would be having a hallway conversation, and this Yank would have a hard time following it due to differences in pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar.

                    But then again I've encountered similar difficulty with regional accents in North America -- for example, a late-night encounter with a security guard in Kentucky asking about my rental car: "You in that Fo-wid?" After a couple of repetitions I finally realized that he meant Ford. I hadn't considered the possibility of stretching a word with a single vowel into 2 syllables. In Noo Yawk, where I grew up, fo-wid was the antonym of back-wid.

          3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: Defense against the Darknet

            "No, the people who flooded the Internet and TV with content win."

            That'll be the Indians then. If not already, then soon. It should also be noted that the English-as-a-Second-Language crowd in Europe speak yet another dialect that isn't quite anybody's. There are a lot of them, too, and they have more money than you do. Get used to it Americans, your time at the top is limited and then you're following us down. Try to be more graceful about it than we were.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Defense against the Darknet

              Like it or not, American English is the lingua franca of TehIntraWebTubes. This isn't a good thing, nor is it a bad thing. All it is is an accident of history.

              This will change over time. If there is one thing that's a dead cert, it's that language mutates. Much to the deep dismay of all those Internet "Queen's English"[0] nazis out there.

              [0] Whatever that means ...

              1. Simon B-52

                Nazis?!

                They're not Nazis, they're very naughty Blackshirts.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Defense against the Darknet

                "[...] "Queen's English" [...]"

                Which queen? The survival of English has been down to it being a flexible mongrel language. It adapts and borrows whenever necessary or fashionable. You can rearrange the grammar and conjugations - and it still makes sense.

                My neighbours' 4 year old was raised with a mother tongue of Polish. Pre-school has now immersed him in English. It is interesting to hear the way he uses it and gradually discovers concepts. Apparently his 9 year old brother still speaks Polish - but now often with an English word order.

                A Japanese colleague spent a couple of years in the UK. On returning to Japan his daughter spoke Japanese with a Manchester accent.

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: Defense against the Darknet

                  "Which queen?"

                  Did you note my footnote?

        2. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

          Re: Defense against the Darknet

          "well we speeel defence with a C in Australia too, so the majority wins yes?"

          I get 97 million for your combined populations (including New Zealand, and rounding up; and UK, not just England) vs. 328 million, rounding down, for the USA.

          "Who invented English" might be a better argument than "how big is your gorilla". Just sayin'.

          Ook ook.

          http://www.worldometers.info/population/world/

          1. leenex

            Re: Defense against the Darknet

            Um ... New Zealand, Australia, the UK and the US are not the only English-speaking nations in the world.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Defense against the Darknet

          Canada, aussi

        4. martinusher Silver badge

          Re: Defense against the Darknet

          >well we speeel defence with a C in Australia too, so the majority wins yes?

          Our kind of 'defense' is not the same as 'defence'. Defense implies a more proactive stance, as in "We had to destroy the village/town/city/country in order to save it". (Our defense efforts are often frustrated by annoyed locals who employ defences against us.)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Defense against the Darknet

            Yes, in the act of Defence we tend to hit our target, whereas in their acts of defense the americans have a habit of missing the target and hitting us

      2. analyzer

        Re: Defense against the Darknet

        So just like the Empire of old, $DEITY doesn't trust El Reg in the dark

        Wicked

      3. A.P. Veening

        Re: Defense against the Darknet

        and the sun never sets on its reporting team around the world.

        And that is because neither God nor the devil trusts them in the dark, very well done.

      4. Simon B-52

        theregister.CO.UK ??

        Few things on the www are confined to one country only, but the Register is a .co.uk domain - that does rather imply that it's UK based.

        Putting www.theregister.com into an address bar just gets a re-direct to .co.uk.

        If an alternative system of spelling English, such as US spellings got even somewhere near a regular phonetic spelling system it would be worth changing to, but none do, not by a very long way indeed.

        Given that, griping and squabbling over the very minor differences is just a waste of time.

        1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: theregister.CO.UK ??

          Funny thing is, everyone's picked up on "defense". Nobody's mentioned the blantant Americanism in:-

          "Boffins from Belgium break people recognition software with a colorful placard"

          There must have been an album-sized colourful square floating in front of everyone's monitor.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: theregister.CO.UK ??

          These days, I'd say that the .co.uk doesn't mean it's UK based, but rather that it's registered in the UK. Subtle difference, perhaps, but a difference nonetheless.

        3. Lusty Silver badge

          Re: theregister.CO.UK ??

          "Putting www.theregister.com into an address bar just gets a re-direct to .co.uk."

          It never used to be that way. Originally el Reg was British with a .co.uk but then became global and added the .com which lacked the more local .co.uk stories. At the time you could choose either version freely and see slightly differing content. Presumably one of the new content engines changed all that and we're back to a single global site with all of the content. Odd to redirect everyone to .co.uk, but that is how it started and let's face it the content is mostly written in a British style - the humour certainly is :)

        4. Solo Owl

          Re: theregister.CO.UK ??

          It says ".co.uk" in the address bar. Nevertheless, Flagfox displays a similacrum of the US flag and reports "Server location, United States". The server writes only in General American.

          1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

            Re: theregister.CO.UK ??

            That's really not a good indicator to go on. El Reg is served via a CDN (in this case Cloudflare), so you've a few issues there:

            - If you're in the US, you should get a US located server

            - If you're in India, you'll get an Indian server

            - Cloudflare's IPs often geolocate to the US anyway, so that Indian server may still show a US flag

      5. Tim99 Silver badge

        Re: Defense against the Darknet

        We are only defending girls? Defensa (feminine), past participle of defendere ‘defend’ - Nominalization of the feminine form of the perfect passive participle of defendo.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Defense against the Darknet

          Not in English as she is spoke.

          1. Simon B-52

            Idiomatic. . . . .

            My local idiom puts it as:

            "Properly, like what the Queen does"

            Let the downvotes commence!

  9. DMcDonnell

    Hawaiian shirts

    Hawaiian shirts might come back into style.

    1. Lusty Silver badge

      Re: Hawaiian shirts

      They went out of style?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Hawaiian shirts

        They were ever in style?

        1. Peter Clarke 1
          Big Brother

          Re: Hawaiian shirts

          Only when combined with a Red Ferrari and moustache

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hawaiian shirts

        @Lusty

        My favourite summer wear. Living on the east coast of Canada we only have two or maybe three months of weather wherein you consider wearing a Hawaiian shirt and I do, damn it all! :)

        1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

          Re: Hawaiian shirts

          @AC

          Do they make Hawaiian print parkas?

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Hawaiian shirts

            They make all kinds of Hawai‘ian print winter gear. As hard as it might be for the untraveled to believe, you can actually book a snow skiing/boarding holiday in Hawai‘i.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Hawaiian shirts

          Aloha, aka "Hawaiian", shirts (which were actually invented by a Honolulu-based Japanese retailer and initially made from kimono fabric, according to Wikipedia - you learn something new every day) and their cousins the guayaberas are my preferred summer wear, too, when I'm not doing manual work on the house or grounds. Loose-fitting, breathable, decent sun protection for the covered areas, and more interesting than the typical print T-shirt (or, god help us, logo-bearing polo shirts). And they usually have a handy pocket or two.

          At the beach, after coming out of the water, an aloha or guayabera is a lot easier to throw on than a T-shirt. Leave it unbuttoned to protect the shoulders and back of the neck from sunburn while letting the breeze dry you.

      3. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: Hawaiian shirts

        Reminds me of (IIRC) an NME review of a Ry Cooder gig I attended many years ago. The only thing the reviewer could find fault with was the man's choice of attire (Hawaiian shirt).

    2. NATTtrash
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Hawaiian shirts

      Don't get me wrong, I'm always in for some tiki styling, but...

      Looking at the YT video, it seems to be "height dependent". If the "vinyl album cover" picture is moved up or down, recognition seems to kick in again. Most effective seems to be "crotch high". So maybe we should all get those print knickers and walk around (outside where CCTV is) with those on and nothing else to "interfere" the revealing effect.

      Oh, OK..? Really..?

      1. Solo Owl

        Re: Hawaiian shirts

        Or a kilt?

  10. Draco
    Angel

    Finally, sensible fashion choices coming back

    My take on this is that clothing from my childhood is about to make a comeback.

    https://bit.ly/2Iwa1DX

    There is no better feeling than walking the streets incognito.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Finally, sensible fashion choices coming back

      Yeay! I was a tween/teen when that was fashionable and I thought peasant skirts and micro minis were a great look. So, my wife and I are now in our 50s and she still has the legs to look great in a micro mini. Sadly, for you guys she just wears them, at home, for me now, to my knowledge :P

      and it appears I still think like a 14 year old, sometimes :D

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: Finally, sensible fashion choices coming back

        OT, but today's women in their fifties, what with the gym and Pilates and smoking bans and knowing about sunburn, would pass for their thirties of fifty years ago.

        Whereas men do a reverse Dorian Gray - we get more and more ravaged on the outside, but there's a part of our brains that is forever 14.

      2. ICPurvis47
        Happy

        Re: Finally, sensible fashion choices coming back

        "and it appears I still think like a 14 year old, sometimes :D"

        Me too, and I'm in my 70s.

  11. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Happy

    Turn it on its head

    Every time you leave the house be wearing something completely bizarre and different - even going to work. Then when you want to be incognito go out wearing ordinary fairly smart casuals.

  12. Ozzard
    Mushroom

    Next step: YOLOv2.1 trained on these

    Great first step. Now the recogniser's training set needs to include people with these patches... and then the patches are defeated, and privacy folks need to find adversarial imaes against the next training set.

    The arms race is on! (Icon to emphasise this)

    1. STOP_FORTH
      Trollface

      Re: Next step: YOLOv2.1 trained on these

      Forkbomb QR code patches FTW!

    2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Next step: YOLOv2.1 trained on these

      Rorschach already came up with a solution to that. But someone was watching the Watchmen.

  13. STOP_FORTH
    Happy

    Impractical option

    Why not just wear one of those inflatable T Rex costumes with the gauze/screen patch in the neck? Ability to pick things up or open doors may be impaired.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Impractical option

      I love it when a plan comes together.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jeremy and Bruce (UK & Oz STASI) will want this made ILEGAL ASAP.....

    .....just like they want backdoors in all end-to-end encryption....

    .....just like they want any PRIVATE cipher schemes made illegal....

    *

    .....like this message using a book cipher (specially for Jeremy):

    *

    1jS=0r700VjG1d1W0irT0Nnz0Zxz0DUV0zkD1lqb

    0W5C0ld71qF41FIs13d80UVW0ddY0MdF09NG0jP6

    0bnV07A41Vt00TuE0l8U0orz0jS710s41Qnj0Btw

    0HWG0u7Z1Ac50FxY0u2N1RHp0g4o1CvQ16fl0Itv

    0kpP0bwa1eaD12Th0TXc1A$q0XVx

  15. Z Ippy

    Till they make avoiding the cameras illegal

    This chap avoided the cameras so was stopped by the Rozzers and got a fine for his troubles - you avoided the cameras were going to get you anyway fine....!

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/facial-recognition-cameras-technology-london-trial-met-police-face-cover-man-fined-a8756936.html

    First featured on Not The Nine O'clock News in c1982 - Arrested for wearing a loud shirt in public B-/

    1. TimMaher

      Re: Till they make avoiding the cameras illegal

      Up vote for that reference @Z.

      “Urinating in a public convenience.”

      “Being in possession of an offensive wife.”

      Etc. Etc. Etc.

      Are you sure that you are not Constable Savage?

  16. elgarak1

    I'm fairly certain that at some point you can tattoo a pattern onto your forehead that injects malware into the surveillance system.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Years ago, having spilt some really thick printers' ink, I suggested that a really good, cheap anti-tank munition would be a shell full of ink and a shaped charge so that it would spray a cone of adhesive ink all over the tank sights and observation windows. I was not taken seriously. With today's technology, I'm surprised nobody has tried it on surveillance cameras.

      Edit - I guess if it wasn't for the fact that paintball guns already exist, this might get me on some sort of watch list.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Might be harder than you think to cover adequately.

        Mythbusters did an episode on painting a room with explosives. They weren't very successful.

        However, I know people who have had trail cameras disabled with paintballs.

        Side note: If you match printer's ink to your car's paint and then rub it in to the finish, you'll find it's an excellent product for hiding surprisingly large scratches. Smaller scratches disappear. Allow to set up overnight, lightly buff off the excess ink, then cover with a quality wax and Bob's your Auntie. Takes a while, and it's bit of an effort, but it's cheaper than a paintjob. Keep up the wax and it lasts indefinitely. Can be used for spot coverage. Just wear gloves while you do it, unless you want your hands to match your car for a week or so.

        1. Montreal Sean
          Coat

          Re: Might be harder than you think to cover adequately.

          I tried the printer car paint job fix.

          My car is black, the toner was black.

          The car wouldn't go through the fuser so the colour came right off.

      2. harmjschoonhoven

        @ Voyna i Mor Re: cheap anti-tank munition

        Clive Stafford Smith described how an inmate of Guantánamo Bay prison covered his 24/7 CCTV in desperation with his own shit ....

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Had that happen several times while psychiatric nursing - patients in seclusion using poop to cover the spy-holes in the door. It guaranteed that we would have to go in because we couldn't see the patient. Personally, I never blamed the patient for doing it - put me in a seclusion room (low stimulus with unseen people looking at me secretly) , and, if I wasn't mad before, I soon would be.

      3. JohnFen Silver badge

        "I'm surprised nobody has tried it on surveillance cameras."

        Every so often, I read about someone who has attacked such cameras with paintball guns.

  17. 10forcash Bronze badge

    Apparently a mild waft of hairspray in the vicinity of cameras (assuming you can get to within a metre of it) is enough to render the images unusable for facial recognition purposes.... Hairspray also resists removal by the cameras with the 'wash-wipe' accessory on the casing too.

    So i've been told anyway.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    2021 headline: Pedestrian wearing "wrong T-Shirt" killed by autonomous vehicle

    A pedestrian crossing a road was hit ba an autonomous vehicle which faild to detect him as the T-Shirt he was wearing rendered him invisible ....

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: 2021 headline: Pedestrian wearing "wrong T-Shirt" killed by autonomous vehicle

      Adversarial, and accidentally adversarial, images are a recognized issue with autonomous-vehicle image processing. But for avoiding pedestrian (and other) collisions, AVs have other sensors. LIDAR, in particular, isn't affected by adversarial images.

      That's why the use of adversarial images to cause these systems to misrecognize street signs gained so much attention. For that case, there are few or no alternative sensor options (with the existing road infrastructure).

  19. ecofeco Silver badge

    Very cool

    And very interesting.

  20. Hamish McNish

    Fiction over fact

    William Gibson’s “Zero History” features just this technology in the denouement

    1. TimMaher

      Re: Fiction over fact

      Do you get this feeling of deja vu?

  21. Hamish McNish

    Fiction becomes fact...

    William Gibson’s “Zero History” features this technology in the denouement...

    1. TimMaher

      Re: Fiction becomes fact...

      Do you get this feeling of deja vu?

  22. wayne 8

    Juggalos FTW

    Makeup worn by the followers of Insane Clown Posse cannot be recognized by AI.

    But there is a social cost.

    Article had me confused with "applying the patch".

  23. leenex

    Perhaps the system thinks that American tourists in Aloha shirts can't be classified as 'people'.

  24. JohnFen Silver badge

    Nice

    It's a great initial pass at the problem. It warms my heart to not only see research into defending against this sort of surveillance happen, but that it's already getting some sort of results.

    Unfortunately, this approach needs to be tuned to a particular recognition algorithm. I'm hoping to see methods that are more general in the future.

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Nice

      Unfortunately, this approach needs to be tuned to a particular recognition algorithm. I'm hoping to see methods that are more general in the future.

      Well.. I have this condition[1] where normal light hurts my eyes. It's quite distressing, and so I don't go outside often.

      But it has been found that I can wear these special glasses that filter all but IR light, and make it so I can see IR. To make the IR more useful I wear this special headband that has a lot of IR emitting LEDs. Very bright ones, to flood the area with IR so I can see easier. Doesn't bother other people.

      I have also heard about research into gait analysis. Don't know anything about that, but I do have this ankle condition that gets really painful and limits my ability to go out and about. However, these helpful shoes that have randomly filled air pockets in them really help me. That they change my gait at the same time is just purely accidental, honest!

      [1] No, but I'm $ure if I a$ked my doctor$ properly, they $urely would provide me with a pre$cription or note$ or other document$ to $ay $o!

      1. Joe Harrison Silver badge

        Re: Nice

        Well.. I have this condition[1] where normal light hurts my eyes. It's quite distressing, and so I don't go outside often.

        Too bad they already developed countermeasures. Small drone firing garlic-coated 22LR silver-jacketed rounds.

        1. Toni the terrible

          Re: Nice

          Silver is for Werewolves, Iron (and possibly lead as a ''base metal") is for the Fae, UV emitting loads are for vampires - or explosive loads for most (head shots)

          PS Garlic is an irritant to Vampires like hot peppers are to humans, many avoid garlic but they can munch it just fine (like humans with pepper)

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Nice

            That would depend entirely on whose fantasy you are choosing to believe in.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Nice

        "Very bright ones, to flood the area with IR so I can see easier. Doesn't bother other people."

        It also doesn't bother cameras that have IR filters installed.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Nice

          But most don't have an IR filter installed. In fact, you can often make a standard video camera into a IR camera with a bit of over-exposed film in front of the lens.

          (I wonder how many of the kiddies reading this know what over-exposed film is.)

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Nice

            It all depends on the camera. Consumer cameras tend to have partial IR filters because they're intended to be used in low-light conditions as well as daylight conditions (if the camera can see IR well, it tends to distort certain colors, so a complete lack of filtering is not often desirable in consumer gear). Industrial surveillance cameras often (but not always) separate out the two different conditions. if the camera is intended to be useful in low-light/night conditions, it won't have an IR filter at all. But there are also daytime cameras that do. Your mileage may vary.

            I suppose my point is that if someone is thinking that an IR dazzler will afford them protection against all surveillance cameras, they're bound to be disappointed sooner or later.

          2. ThadiasVonBasterd

            Re: Nice

            A bit of the actual disk from a floppy works too! far more appropriate for this sites readership haha

        2. Kiwi Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Nice

          "Very bright ones, to flood the area with IR so I can see easier. Doesn't bother other people."

          It also doesn't bother cameras that have IR filters installed.

          I've yet to come across security cameras like that. Especially at night. :)

          That said, were I to don my personal assistive headgear on a regular basis, I am sure there would be an increase in IR-proof cameras.

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