As the Australian Government considers a bill to share people’s facial data with agencies across the country, scientists in Europe are working to overcome so-called “obfuscation” and “impersonation” techniques that allow people to fly under the radar from unwanted surveillance.

Applying make-up to appear older, splashing your face with infrared light, combining multiple photographs to “morph” identities: these are all techniques people are using to subvert facial recognition (FR) systems.

Efforts to subvert FR technology have existed since the technology was commercialised two decades ago, including disguises, wigs, prosthetics and accessories like cardboard glasses, along with silicon masks of somebody else’s face and make-up that prevents a face being detected at all.