January 24, 2022

Interesting Research! FaceBlock App Allows Google Glass Users to Take Privacy-Aware Pictures

The following technology is under development as a collaborative project by the UMBC  (University of Maryland-Baltimore County) ebiquity group and Distributed Information Systems (DIS) at the University of Zaragoza in Spain.

FaceBlock is a proof of concept implementation.

From theebiquity Blog:

FaceBlock helps to protect the privacy of people around you by allowing them to specify whether or not to be included in your pictures.


FaceBlock takes regular pictures taken by your smartphone or Google Glass as input and converts it into privacy-aware pictures. This output is generated by using a combination of Face Detection and Face Recognition algorithms. By using FaceBlock, a user can take a picture of herself and specify her policy/rule regarding pictures taken by others (in this case ‘obscure my face in pictures from strangers’). The application would automatically generate a face identifier for this picture. This identifier is an eigenface which is a mathematical representation of the image.

Your image identifier (eigenface) and your data policy are then shared with others (Google Glass users and other mobile devices) using Bluetooth.

The blog post concludes:

The pervasiveness of privacy-aware pictures could be a right step towards balancing privacy needs and comfort afforded by technology. Thus, we can get the best out of Wearable Technology without being oblivious about the privacy of those around you.

Watch a Video Demo of FaceBlock

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.