Airport, payment facial recognition systems fooled by masks and photos, Apple’s Face ID not fooled

The Apple A11 Bionic-powered iPhone X
Apple’s iPhone X introduced the TrueDepth Camera system and secure Face ID

Jeff John Roberts for Fortune:

Masks and simple photographs are enough to fool some facial recognition technology, highlighting a major shortcoming in what is billed as a more effective security tool.

The test, by artificial intelligence company Kneron, involved visiting public locations and tricking facial recognition terminals into allowing payment or access… the Kneron team used high quality 3-D masks to deceive AliPay and WeChat payment systems in order to make purchases.

More alarming were the tests deployed at transportation hubs. At the self-boarding terminal in Schiphol Airport, the Netherlands’ largest airport, the Kneron team tricked the sensor with just a photo on a phone screen. The team also says it was able to gain access in this way to rail stations in China where commuters use facial recognition to pay their fare and board trains.

The transportation experiments raise concerns about terrorism at a time when security agencies are exploring facial recognition as a means of saving money and improving efficiency…

Kneron also noted that its experiments could not fool some facial recognition applications, notably Apple’s iPhone X.

MacDailyNews Take: iPhone X, of course, was Apple’s first generation of Face ID, which has since been even further improved in subsequent iPhones.


  1. Because Apple did better, it is buried in the article. If Apple iPhone had failed, even if all the others did too, Apple would be in 100 point font in the headline.

  2. … but everyone hated the notch because it took away some display area despite the fact that it housed critical Face ID components. Oh, well… might as well eliminate external mirrors on cars because they break up the flowing design of the body.

    Of course, Apple sold hundreds of millions of iPhones despite the hated notch (hated mainly by the tech-heads), so it really didn’t matter all that much to most iPhone users. Apple did very well with the notch compromise but certainly didn’t get much praise for it. I’d happily trade screen space for a notch because security is important and a few millimeters loss of screen display area isn’t. What Apple does is always being vocally downplayed or negatively criticized and there’s simply no reason for that. I never quite understood why so many people became upset with the iPhone’s notch to the point of saying it was a deal-breaker when it was such a positive feature.

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