Friday, July 4, 2008

Photos Fool Age-Verification Vending Machines

They're called 'smart vending machines'. I don't believe they deserve it:

With the full-scale rollout of Japan’s cigarette vending machine age-verification system just around the corner, a Sankei Sports news reporter has confirmed the existence of a minor flaw: magazine photos can be used to fool the age-verification cameras on some machines.

When the reporter went to check out the new age-verifying machines after they were introduced in the Osaka area in June, he soon discovered that the machines equipped with face-recognition cameras would let him buy cigarettes when he held up a 15-centimeter (6-in) wide magazine photo of a man who looked to be in his 50s.

The reporter also went to Kobe, where different face recognition hardware is being used. There, he bought cigarettes using an 8-centimeter (3-in) wide magazine photo of a female celebrity in her 30s

Fujitaka admits that people may, on occasion, be able to fool the age-verification cameras with photographs — but only for the time being. The company is now working on a more advanced system that will make sure each face belongs to a real human, but they are unable to say when these new machines will be put into place.

When they do release these more advanced systems, minors will probably be able to fool them by wearing a gorilla mask.

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