As police authorities’ use of facial recognition continues to rise – along with opposition to such practices from privacy and civil rights advocates – one group of people may be immune: Juggalos.
“Juggalos” are fans of the hip hop duo Insane Clown Posse, and tend to show their affiliation through the use of a certain style of clown makeup. And as Futurism reports, this makeup appears to disrupt facial recognition technology pretty effectively, when used in the right way. Relying on a series of tweets from computer science blogger tahkion, Futurism reports that applying black makeup between the mouth and the chin – a common practice for Juggalos – can fool a facial recognition into incorrectly placing the jaw right under the mouth, eliminating the possibility that the subject can be matched against a photo of them without makeup.
Some researchers have taken a similar approach in developing anti-facial recognition methods such as wearing elaborate hairstyles and face paints. It’s a matter of some concern to individuals concerned about increasingly sophisticated government surveillance technologies, but the public at large would need some convincing to make some of the fashion choices required for these approaches to work. So it’s funny that Juggalos, who tend toward anti-establishment and conspiratorial philosophies – one Insane Clown Posse song rejected scientific explanations for magnetism – have become de facto disruptors of biometric surveillance just by being themselves.
Of course, the science of facial recognition is constantly evolving, and may eventually overcome Juggalo makeup. But for now, Juggalos is protected from biometric surveillance thanks to what Insane Clown Posse would probably call a miracle.