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Guess what: Juggalo make-up blocks facial recognition technology


TextAlex Peters

Fans of Insane Clown Posse seem to be immune to the surveillance software

As facial recognition technology becomes increasingly prevalent as a tool for public surveillance and we move ever closer towards a dystopian future, we may have found an unlikely saviour. Because, as it turns out, there is one way to block facial recognition: Juggalo make-up.

Juggalos – the subculture of Insane Clown Posse fans – are known for their distinctive, easily recognisable black and white clown make-up. And it is this make-up that cannot be accurately read by facial recognition technology, as the blocks of black shapes obscure and change the light contrast of the face – which is what the software uses to identify and analyse. 

The discovery was made by Twitter user Tahkion, who shared the news along with pictorial evidence and an in-depth explanation of how facial recognition software works with his followers last week. “i made a breakthrough. it turns out juggalo makeup defeats facial recognition successfully. if you want to avoid surveillance, become a juggalo i guess.”

So, if you’re keen to avoid robot surveillance, a Juggalo make-over could be the answer for you – although it might attract you more IRL attention than you would like. It’s also worth noting that different facial recognition technology uses different methods. Apple’s Face ID, for example, uses a TrueDepth camera system which identifies features using depth perception. As make-up cannot change the actual dimensions of your face, it won’t protect you against those systems so beware.

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