Intelligent Frame Selection as a Privacy-Friendlier Alternative to Face Recognition

AAAI 2021

Abstract: The widespread deployment of surveillance cameras for facial recognition gives rise to many privacy concerns. This study proposes a privacy-friendly alternative to large scale facial recognition. While there are multiple techniques to preserve privacy, our work is based on the minimization principle which implies minimizing the amount of collected personal data. Instead of running facial recognition software on all video data, we propose to automatically extract a high quality snapshot of each detected person without revealing his or her identity. This snapshot is then encrypted and access is only granted after legal authorization. We introduce a novel unsupervised face image quality assessment method which is used to select the high quality snapshots. For this, we train a variational autoencoder on high quality face images from a publicly available dataset and use the reconstruction probability as a metric to estimate the quality of each face crop. We experimentally confirm that the reconstruction probability can be used as biometric quality predictor. Unlike most previous studies, we do not rely on a manually defined face quality metric as everything is learned from data. Our face quality assessment method outperforms supervised, unsupervised and general image quality assessment methods on the task of improving face verification performance by rejecting low quality images. The effectiveness of the whole system is validated qualitatively on still images and videos. Authors: Mattijs Baert, Sam Leroux, Pieter Simoens (Ghent University)