New Technology Anonymizes Faces Automatically

In a master thesis last year, Joar Midthun set out to design a science research artefact for anonymizing faces in images.

Joar Midthun

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Last year, Joar Midthun handed in his master's degree at UiB, titled "Automatic Facial Anonmyisation Using Average Face Morphing". The artefact is developed for use in RRI-research in the ViSmedia research group.

The tool investigates "the normative views of journalism practices in dealing with manipulation and usage of facial press photographies". He aims to answer three questions: 1) Is it possible to create an artefact capable of automatically anonymizing faces using an average face morphing approach? 2) Can the artefact be used to investigate the views on normative practices in manupulation and usage of face photographies in the news media? And 3) Is it investigated if there are other possible cases for the artefact or its technology?

Midthun proposed two prototypes: A featural and a holistic anonymization prototype. He developed and evaluated these.

"The facial anonymisation algorithm is argued to have potential as an investigative tool, and several potential use cases are proposed", he writes.