Magazine photos fool age-verification cameras

Face-recognition cigarette vending machine --

With the full-scale rollout of Japan’s cigarette vending machine age-verification system just around the corner, a Sankei Sports news reporter has confirmed the existence of a minor flaw: magazine photos can be used to fool the age-verification cameras on some machines.

When the reporter went to check out the new age-verifying machines after they were introduced in the Osaka area in June, he soon discovered that the machines equipped with face-recognition cameras would let him buy cigarettes when he held up a 15-centimeter (6-in) wide magazine photo of a man who looked to be in his 50s.

The reporter also went to Kobe, where different face recognition hardware is being used. There, he bought cigarettes using an 8-centimeter (3-in) wide magazine photo of a female celebrity in her 30s. He also reportedly tried to use a 3-centimeter (1-in) wide photo, but the machines rejected it.

Taspo card -- As part of the age-verification system, most of Japan’s 570,000 cigarette vending machines are being outfitted with RFID readers that check the purchaser’s Taspo age-verification card. Smokers without a Taspo card can now either buy their cigarettes in person over the counter or use one of 4,000 special machines equipped with face-recognition systems (these machines do not require Taspo cards). More face-recognition machines are on the way, according to vending machine manufacturer Fujitaka, who developed the face-recognition hardware.

The face-recognition machines rely on cameras that scan the purchaser’s face for wrinkles, sagging skin and other signs of age. Facial characteristics are compared with a database of more than 100,000 people, and if the purchaser is thought to be well over 20 years old (the legal age), the sale is approved. If the purchaser looks too young, they are asked to prove their age by inserting a driver’s license. According to Fujitaka, the machines are 90% accurate.

Fujitaka admits that people may, on occasion, be able to fool the age-verification cameras with photographs — but only for the time being. The company is now working on a more advanced system that will make sure each face belongs to a real human, but they are unable to say when these new machines will be put into place.

[Source: Sanspo]

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17 responses to: “Magazine photos fool age-verification cameras”

  1. […] at automated vending machines can simply hold up a photo of someone that’s of age. […]

  2. […] The person you are trying to stop is smarter than you.  Corollary: yes, even if they’re not yet old enough to smoke. […]

  3. The reason systems like this will ultimately fail is because there will always be people out there who’ll facilitate the sale of illegal goods to those who can’t buy them. Unfortunately, the only surefire way to prevent that is to institute a system where age and identity are verified before each item is used. Since that kind of system will most definitely result in the end of personal freedom as it exists today, one of two extreme situations will eventually occur; either the people revolt against their governing body, or we end up in a world where our every move and motive are constantly under a microscope. I personally wouldn’t want either scenario to play out, but a system like this only fosters that kind of fear along that much quicker.

  4. product of great japanese engineering lol.

  5. Chris_B

    Wonder if one of those Koizumi masks would do the trick?

  6. […] […]

  7. […] […]

  8. Las cámaras de reconocimiento de edad japonesas se saltan con una foto de una revista…

    Las cámaras que hay en más de 570.000 máquinas de tabaco en Japón que hacen un análisis facial del comprador para no dispensar tabaco a menores pueden ser engañadas colocando delante de la cámara una revista en la que aparezca una fotografía de…

  9. […] Via Pink Tentacle. […]

  10. […] esta semana un avispado periodista acaba de descubrir que esa tecnología que parecía invulnerable tiene un pequeño fallo. Bueno, a decir verdad no es tan pequeño. Y es que hay una manera de engañar al sistema de […]

  11. […] How cigarette vending machines in Japan are being fooled by photographs, including (as Lindsay suggested) pictures of David […]

  12. […] Más detalles en el glorioso Pink Tentacle […]

  13. […] That’s incredibly smart, apart from the whole smoking bit. More details here. […]

  14. […] I Japan har man tydligen infört nya cigarettautomater. I ett försök att kontrollera åldern på de som försöker köpa cigaretter är automaterna utrustade med ett system för bildigenkänning. […]

  15. […] has cigarette machines with age-verification systems – they scan your face for signs of age. But you can fool them with a magazine picture. […]

  16. […] A algún vivo se le ocurrió esa idea y le funcionó, ahora es como un secreto a voces, a sí que es probable que muchos jóvenes empiecen a usar esta técnica para adquirir esos productos que dañan su salud. Ni modo, siempre habrá algo que rompe con el funcionamiento normal de las cosas, a ver ahora cómo arreglan este problemita que no se puede dejar pasar por alto. Para más información pueden ver la entrada original de Pink Tentacle. […]

  17. […] Back to the drawing board pointy heads. […]

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