How facial recognition works with face coverings

Posted at 9:33 PM, Jul 28, 2020

Are masks complicating facial recognition software? The short answer is no, but masks do complicate matters.

Computer science experts say that face coverings and other accessories may act as a speedbump, but it wouldn’t be very difficult for the software to be modified.

However, with a face covering, recognition may be less accurate.

“It has fewer data points and that is the concern,” Steve Beaty, computer science professor at Metro State University-Denver, said. “Because you are essentially removing your nose and your mouth from the equation if you will, there will be fewer data points and the concern is that other people can authenticate as you.”

Before the use of face masks, facial recognition software had an inaccuracy rate of less than 1 percent. Now, the National Institute of Standards and Technology estimates that the inaccuracy rate has increased from 5 to 20 percent.