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Evaluating Automated Face Identity-Masking Methods with Human Perception and a Deep Convolutional Neural Network...

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ACM Transactions on Applied Perception
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Face de-identification (or “masking”) algorithms have been developed in response to the prevalent use of video recordings in public places. We evaluated the success of face identity masking for human perceivers and a deep convolutional neural network (DCNN). Eight de-identification algorithms were applied to videos of drivers’ faces, while they actively operated a motor vehicle. These masks were pre-selected to be applicable to low-quality video and to maintain coarse information about facial actions. Humans studied high-resolution images to learn driver identities and were tested on their recognition of active drivers in low-resolution videos. Faces in the videos were either unmasked or were masked by one of the eight algorithms. When participants were tested immediately after learning (Experiment 1), all masks reduced identification, with six of eight masks reducing identification to extremely poor performance. In a second experiment, two of the most effective masks were tested after a delay of 7 or 28 days. The delay did not further reduce identification of the masked faces. In all masked conditions, participants maintained stringent decision criteria, with low confidence in recognition, further indicating the effectiveness of the masks. Next, the DCNN performed an identity-matching task between high-resolution images and masked videos—a task analogous to that done by humans. The pattern of accuracy for the DCNN mirrored some, but not all, aspects of human performance, highlighting the need to test the effectiveness of identity masking for both humans and machines. The DCNN was also tested on its ability to match identity between masked and unmasked versions of the same video, based only on the face. DCNN performance for the eight masks offers insight into the nature of the information in faces that is coded in these networks.