Hong Kong protesters are using laser pointers to confuse facial recognition and they’re frying photographers’ camera sensors

Aug 27, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Hong Kong protesters are using laser pointers to confuse facial recognition and they’re frying photographers’ camera sensors

Aug 27, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong have been using laser pointers to distract police officers and confuse facial recognition cameras. But while they are beating facial recognition, they are also causing more serious problems for police officers and photographers covering the protests. The laser beams have caused eye damage to several people so far, and they have been frying camera sensors as well.

Since June current year, people have been protesting against an extradition bill proposed by the government of Hong Kong. It would allow local authorities to detain and extradite people who are wanted in territories that Hong Kong does not have extradition agreements with, including mainland China and Taiwan.

The protesters are using laser pointers to confuse the police and the facial recognition cameras which are used to identify them. Journalist Alessandra Bocchi ​​​​​recently posted a video on her Twitter account to demonstrate what this “cyber war” looks like.

Chair of the non-profit GDI Foundation, Victor Gevers, told CBC News that Hong Kong’s authorities are using several types of facial recognition technology to track the city’s population and protesters. Some of them are so advanced that they could reportedly tell a person’s ethnicity, calculate how they look with or without facial hair, detect their mood, and even read lips.

“People are trying to avoid facial recognition by using masks, scarves and hoods. But they are also using more aggressive techniques like laser pens which create a lens flare when a camera gets hit,” Gevers said. He added that he understood the protester’s concerns, but he still advised against using lasers. They could seriously hurt people’s eyes, and even cause irreversible blindness. “And if they hit the windshield of a helicopter or airplane, that could be disastrous,” Gevers added.

YouTube video
YouTube video

There’s no word on how many cameras have been destroyed by these powerful laser pointers so far, but we have seen even weaker lasers fry all kinds of sensors, from those in Sony A7SII and A7R II to $20K RED Epic. But there’s, of course, a bigger problem, considering that these lasers could damage people’s eyesight.

While using lasers is a clever and unconventional technique to confuse facial recognition cameras, its consequences, sadly, go far beyond that. According to New China TV, nine police officers have reported eye injuries by laser beams so far. Because of this, officials and doctors are repeatedly appealing to the protesters not to use lasers.

[via CBC News]

 

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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12 responses to “Hong Kong protesters are using laser pointers to confuse facial recognition and they’re frying photographers’ camera sensors”

  1. Zygmunt Zarzecki Avatar
    Zygmunt Zarzecki

    only ir leds

  2. Photoman Ayu Avatar
    Photoman Ayu

    Bull shit DIYPhotography, the laser pointer have nothing to do with trying to confuse facial recognition. It is a part of the protest of police use brutal force to arrest a university student while doing random search. The student just brought a laser pointer (star marker) for star glazing, and was accused for having assault weapons.

    1. Photoman Ayu Avatar
      Photoman Ayu

      The police hosted a press conference and did a demonstration of using a laser pointer about 5 times more powerful then the one found in the students bag to pop a ballon in 10 seconds. To prove that laser pointers are lethal assault weapon. The public was furious about that announcement and protester have been using laser pointers to annoy and mock the police force since.

    2. Stanica Simona Avatar
      Stanica Simona

      Photoman Ayu and you believe the Chinese police? I heard of photographers complaining about the lasers used at parties so that’s not an overreach.

    3. Photoman Ayu Avatar
      Photoman Ayu

      Stanica Simona So you heard, I have family there in both side. The government is fucked up and police became political pawn. The head line of this post is to confuse facial recognition, not sensor damages, no doubt laser can damage sensors, doesn’t even need to be a very high power laser. The laser is a to mock police for claiming that being an assault weapon to arrest a student who is not even participating in the rally at the time of arrest.

    4. Photoman Ayu Avatar
      Photoman Ayu

      Stanica Simona guess what else have I heard? Journalists physically and verbally assault by police in every protest. Way more concerning then sensors being fry. The media held their own protest in a police press conference attending wearing full protective gear.

  3. Matthias Avatar
    Matthias

    Shoot film, problem solved ;)

  4. Serguei Vergounov Avatar
    Serguei Vergounov

    I support Hong Kong police and Beijing government. There will be nothing wrong if police will fry protesters’ eyes with even more powerful laser pointers.
    Eye for an eye.

  5. Gary Sthland Avatar
    Gary Sthland

    Give it to the filthy pigs

  6. John G Schickler Avatar
    John G Schickler

    Time to break out the film.

  7. Mark Yip Avatar
    Mark Yip

    https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3024147/woman-who-suffered-severe-eye-injury-during-hong-kong
    The only weapon causing eye damage is deliberately aimed rubber bullet fired by police against first aid

  8. Kyle Eaton Avatar
    Kyle Eaton

    The second video in this article is by a news station funded by the Chinese government (New China TV), so it isn’t an unbiased source of information regarding the protests and may be omitting information.