Facial recognition systems are getting better at recognizing masked faces

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Facial recognition algorithms are getting better at recognizing faces in masks, according to data published on Tuesday by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). Drawing on independent testing of more than 150 separate facial recognition algorithms, the new report suggests masks may not be as big a problem for facial recognition systems as initially thought.

Vendors voluntarily submit their facial recognition algorithms to NIST for testing as part of the Facial Recognition Vendor Test (FRVT). The institute publishes results of those tests on a rolling basis as each algorithm is submitted. When NIST first examined masks’ effect on facial recognition in July, it found that algorithms weren’t great at identifying faces…

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