An Italian clothing startup has unveiled a line for men and women that can evade facial recognition technology by tricking the AI-powered algorithm into thinking those wearing the clothes are animals.
Cap_able, based in Milan, recently launched its ‘Manifesto’ collection of hoodies, pants, t-shirts and dresses for those looking to protect their privacy.
“In a world where data is the new oil, Cap_able addresses the issue of privacy, opening up the discussion on the importance of protecting against the misuse of biometric recognition cameras…”, writes the company on its website.
“Our Manifesto collection is the first design collection that offers knitted garments that protect facial recognition,” according to Cap_able.
The collection is designed in such a way that the garments “are not recognized as such by real-time reconnaissance cameras”.
The clothing patterns “confuse the algorithm” by “making the camera detect dogs, zebras, giraffes or small knits inside the fabric, instead of the person wearing the clothes”.
Cap_able produced a video that offers a side-by-side comparison of people wearing their clothes and those wearing other brands.
“Cameras placed in public places do not recognize people wearing Cap_able as people, so they do not collect their biometrics,” the company said.
The privacy issue gained traction in the Big Apple after Knicks owner James Dolan used facial recognition technology to block attorneys at law firms with active litigation against his company from entering the places he owns.
Last week, New York City officials warned Dolan-owned Madison Square Garden Entertainment that it was risking government support by using facial recognition software to ban individuals from venues such as Radio City Music. Hall and the Garden.
Cap_able, founded by 2019 FIT graduate Rachele Didero, said its technology is “based on the use” of so-called “conflicting patches” – or images that “cause recognition systems to ignore the other subjects of the scene and make them detect an element of choice.”
The garments specifically seek to evade “YOLO” facial recognition technology, which is said to be the fastest real-time object detection system in existence, according to Cap_able.
“YOLO” – which stands for “you only look once” – is an open-source face detection system that uses neural networks to read objects with greater speed and accuracy than other technologies on the market.
Maintaining confidentiality will certainly have a cost. Cap_able’s knit short-sleeve crews will cost the customer around $310, while a long-sleeve hoodie costs around $460.
“The Manifesto collection is an example of Cap_able’s modus operandi and larger project,” according to the company.
“He wants to educate people about the importance of privacy and human rights by addressing the issue of misuse of facial recognition technology.”