FMP 06. Face Protection as a Form of Resistance

There were numerous attempts to conceal faces against camera surveillance in design practice. The most featured project is ‘CV Dazzle’ related to face protection that can resist camera surveillance by camouflaging faces. It is representing ‘A Form of Resistance’. The designer realised that for the purpose of hiding faces from CCTVs, we need to make the facial recognition systems confused with a way putting something on faces. In fact, facial recognition systems commonly have the same working process as to the basic structure of faces.

“Essentially what is being looked at is a landscape of the face. … Facial recognition software takes various measurements of each face and turns these into a string of numbers. Then it’s just a matter of comparing one string of numbers with another. The higher the similarity score, the more likely it is that you’re looking at the same person.”

By the algorithm above, facial recognition is generally working. It means that if we want to hide our faces by using methods like ‘camouflage’, watched and stored images and videos by camera surveillance cannot be recognised and identified. It is an essential point to protect our identity from vast camera surveillance aviary.

“If you want to be invisible from the system, you should hide your face.”

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FMP 05. Anonymous Group and Visual Anonymity

By Facial recognition system, it exploits our information shiftlessly. A representative group has been trying to hide their faces behind a symbolic mask. Anonymous group has been using Guy Fawkes mask as their identity ensuring ‘Visual Anonymity’ for ‘freedom’ to act and ‘protection’ from threats. Because they are a hacktivist group, although they are righteous in a way.

David Lloyd who are the V for Vendetta illustrator and co-creator said,

“The Guy Fawkes mask has now become a common brand and a convenient placard to use in protest against tyranny – and I’m happy with people using it, it seems quite unique, an icon of popular culture being used this way. My feeling is the Anonymous group needed an all-purpose image to hide their identity and also symbolise that they stand for individualism – V for Vendetta is a story about one person against the system. We knew that V was going to be an escapee from a concentration camp where he had been subjected to medical experiments but then I had the idea that in his craziness he would decide to adopt the persona and mission of Guy Fawkes – our great historical revolutionary.”

In the present, the mask becomes a symbol of ‘resistance’ to prevent the exposure of faces as ‘the guarantee of visual anonymity’.

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Anonymous Group

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V for Vendetta

FMP 04. Big Brother is Watching YOU

Among various forms of surveillance, the seriousness of camera surveillance was already expected in 1949 by George Orwell who an English author. In the society, every citizen is under camera surveillance by the authorities, mainly by telescreen. “Big Brother is watching you” is a slogan and maxim of the society to warn people of obeying the society without doubts. The novel and movie “1984” made me focus on the problem of camera surveillance.

“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.” – George Orwell

FMP 03. The Evolving Camera Surveillance

There are several nations such as the US and the UK preparing to utilise drone policing. In 2016, on the world-famous website ‘Wired’, a article appeared,

“Police in Surrey have the “largest” drone squadron in the UK after being given £250,000 to buy new drones.”

“The Surrey and Sussex Police force has already trained 38 of its members of staff how to fly UAVs and will be expanding its fleet from one to five after being given the funding by the Home Office.”

It is a symbolic news to speculative our future society related to camera surveillance. Generally, in the present, we are just using drones broadly as a plaything, and it is already very famous and taking centre stage at the moment. Using drones is just emerging recently with the development of technology when it comes to Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). It means that it will be a more useful tool to be used in a wide range of fields such as ‘policing’ as patrols based on the news above.

In this context, A project called “Drone Aviary” designed by Superflux shows that the possibility of future regarding the era of surveillance drone policing. The monitoring system will make the public more monitored indiscriminately and confidentially. I am setting up the society of the drone patrol as the scenario of my project.

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Nightwatchman, Surveillance Drone by Superflux

FMP 02. Camera Surveillance and Facial Recognition System

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The news  above from The Telegraph became a starting point of my project related to mass surveillance. Moreover, In the US, there are thirty million cameras installed, and the CCTVs are monitoring us for four billion hours a week.

Based on the shocking reports, in fact, our every step has been watched by Big Brother. However, without any information, CCTVs just shoot our appearance. As a way of visual-data-based surveillance, how does camera surveillance identify us? It is strongly related to ‘face’. With the advent of the digitalised era, by using ‘facial recognition system’, people’s personal data can be easily identified, almost everything. It means that we are losing our privacy by being exposed.

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We can directly experience the greatness of the facial recognition system in our daily life. Facebook provides a facial matching service, and its accuracy is over 95 percentage. It is massive. It means that by revealing our faces, the possibility of being identified is getting higher than our expectation, much more.

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FMP 01. Edward Snowden and Mass Surveillance

The documentary film below is related to the undiscriminating ‘Mass Surveillance’ by the US National Security Agency (NSA) run by the US government. They exploited the personal information of numerous citizens in the US, and Edward Snowden who was ex-CIA exposed it in 2013.

“The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.”

When I watched the film, I could not imagine that they had been watching and gathering our personal information like God. The Us government announced as to the issue with two reasons in terms of doing it by President Obama.

“First, … we have real enemies and threats, and that intelligence serves a vital role in confronting them. We cannot prevent terrorist attacks or cyber threats without some capability to penetrate digital communications — whether it’s to unravel a terrorist plot; to intercept malware that targets a stock exchange; to make sure air traffic control systems are not compromised; or to ensure that hackers do not empty your bank accounts. We are expected to protect the American people; that requires us to have capabilities in this field.”

“Third, … Corporations of all shapes and sizes track what you buy, store and analyze our data, and use it for commercial purposes; … But all of us understand that the standards for government surveillance must be higher. … Trust us, we won’t abuse the data we collect. For history has too many examples when that trust has been breached. Our system of government is built on the premise that our liberty cannot depend on the good intentions of those in power; it depends on the law to constrain those in power.”

To sum their position up, they are monitoring and collecting our personal information till now without any compromise with the public. It made me start pondering about the tensions between surveillance and privacy.

Social Things 7. Concerning objects (3) LED matrix

For the refugees, one of the most crucial problems is ‘Language Barrier’. According to references, when they have some supports from doctors or volunteers who use a common language ‘English’, it is hard to communicate and share their problem with them because there are the limitation of language support. In addition, in a wide context, Syrian migrants have been suffering form being involved in each country as the members of society. In this respect, I found out an interesting reference called ‘Open Informat’ made by Superflux in 2013. It makes me to be able to think about another ‘Possibility of Communication’ without voice.

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Open Informant’ is a wearable badge with an e-ink display that attempts to confront the unsettling realities of surveillance in a networked age.

I have brought an idea which can be called ‘The Hope of Communication’ from ‘Open Informant’ project. In fact, my project is supposed to make people not to be close to  a person who wear the ‘Prisoner Uniform’ as well as ‘Noisy Warning Horns’. However, in a way, through this project, I want to inform some information on brief regrettable conditions and circumstances about ‘The Crisis of Syrian’ to someone who see a campaigner. It means that as the meaning of the ‘Campaign’, people can notice and understand what it is through the text on the LED matrix.

  • Test

This is 8×8 LED matrix, and by using scrolling text from right to left, I was able to put some text on the screen. The next step was ‘Finding a suitable words’. such as ‘I am a Syrian refugee’, ‘I am living in a Syrian refugee camp for 4 years’, ‘Help me from the refugee camp’ and so on. However, the problem was the fact that people do not know exactly what it is through these words. Therefore, I decided to put an extended information from the words ‘SYRIAN 6500000’ on the uniform in the LED matrix. I set up a sentence ‘By the end of August 2014, the UN estimates 6.5 million people have been displaced within Syria.’ which is exact information from the UN. Besides, it is enough to make people notice the crisis with the number ‘6.5 MILLION’ which is unbelievably tremendous.

  • ‘SYRIAN 6500000’ on uniform

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  • Final result