Why “MASK ID” Can Cause Problems in Long Term?

Mask ID is a new web app that purports to defeat the facial recognition technology used by some European nations. Using facial recognition, government agencies can identify in real-time through the security cameras who is walking in the street, who is crossing the road, and so on. This makes it very easy to spot escaped criminals or dangerous elements of the society. This helps not only arrest the criminals, but also helps prevent many future crimes.

But some paranoid people do not want the governments to identify their faces in this manner, so they have  created a web app called “Mask ID”. This web app can take your front facing photograph, merge it with someone similar looking and create a masked photograph that cannot be recognized by computers. You are supposed to use this generated photograph for identity cards, passports and such. Here is why you should avoid this at all cost:

Mask ID

  1. Possibly illegal: When you apply for an identity card or passport or some other similar document, you are asked to provide your recent passport size photograph. By providing an edited and modified photograph, you are violating the agreement made when submitting the application. It is a new concept and there are no legal precedents but it could be called document tampering or forgery.
  2. Fails to work: In today’s date, if you apply for a passport then you know that the officials do not accept a photograph printed on paper. They take your picture at the time of application using a digital camera to avoid all the forgery and to avoid people submitting their older pictures. Same is true for driving licenses. So even of you use “Mask ID” to create a slightly different looking facial photograph, it won’t be accepted in most of the places.
  3. Stores your photograph: Even though “Mask ID” gives a big lecture on how the European governments are storing your photographs in their huge database, “Mask ID” also does the same. Without this database, Mask ID won’t have enough pictures to use for morphing your original picture. It does display an option to store or not to store your picture in their database, but if one doesn’t trust their government why should they trust this new website?

Based on these reasons, I personally won’t use any of these tricks to defeat the system. In the long run, this is going to cause more problems than it can solve. If you still want to take a crack at “Mask ID”, then you can try your luck at https://mask.id/en/.