Face Masks Confuse Facial Recognition Technology

That's a good thing.


Americans can't agree on whether face masks are a good way to reduce the threat of transmitting COVID-19. We've even turned mask-donning into a symbol of partisan affiliation; those who would make them compulsory everywhere face off against those who refuse them under all circumstances. But we should at least be able to agree that face coverings are a great way to defeat the surveillance stateespecially now that the U.S. government has conceded that masks confuse the hell out of facial recognition technology.

"Using unmasked images, the most accurate algorithms fail to authenticate a person about 0.3% of the time," the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a federal agency, reported last week. "Masked images raised even these top algorithms' failure rate to about 5%, while many otherwise competent algorithms failed between 20% to 50% of the time."

Notably, the NIST test focused on one-to-one matching of a face against a single photo, as you might do to unlock a cellphone or at a passport checkpoint. One-to-one systems are carried out under conditions of near-ideal lighting and camera placement, and so are more reliable than one-to-many matches of faces against databases that are conducted during surveillance of public places. Masks should be expected to be even more effective at increasing failure rates of one-to-many facial recognition systems.

"The more of the nose a mask covers, the lower the algorithm's accuracy," the NIST report adds of the digitally simulated coverings used in the study. "The study explored three levels of nose coverage—low, medium and high—finding that accuracy degrades with greater nose coverage."

Perhaps more surprisingly, black masks turned out to defeat matching algorithms more thoroughly than did light-blue masks. The researchers speculate that very dark and very light masks might confuse cameras' automatic light-exposure controls. So, the ninja look isn't just aesthetically pleasing, it's also practical from a privacy perspective.

The NIST report confirms fears voiced in a May 22 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notice that people could take advantage of mask-wearing to defeat surveillance efforts. Part of the recent BlueLeaks hack of law enforcement documents published by Distributed Denial of Secrets, the notice warned:

We assess the widespread use of masks for public safety could likely continue to impact the effectiveness of face recognition systems even after federal or state mandates for their use are withdrawn as portions of the general population will likely continue to voluntarily wear face coverings in public even after restrictions on social gatherings are lifted or until an effective COVID-19 vaccine is publicly available.

The notice also talked of other means of defeating facial recognition technology, including blue and green lasers to blind cameras, "clothing or accessories with images of faces, license plates, or pixelated images" to confuse algorithms, and specialized hats and other accessories that emit infrared light that can wash-out camera images.

I'll add here that I performed a casual experiment with an infrared flashlight clipped to the visor of a baseball cap, and my face was mostly obscured by a white blob on the image transmitted by a home-security camera.

Some clever entrepreneurs have deliberately targeted the market for surveillance-defeating fashion, producing dazzling eyeglasses and distracting clothing intended to drive facial recognition technology to distraction. The tactic is apparently effective, although perhaps at the price of making people look a bit like Elton John impersonators.

Now you can add to the list of effective anti-surveillance tools the fabric masks that some jurisdictions require us to wear in the name of  public health.

That government officials are going to end up awfully conflicted over whether to mandate or forbid masks in the years to come is obvious from the case of Hong Kong. Last October, the Hong Kong government banned the wearing of facial coverings in public places because pro-democracy demonstrators had adopted them to deter surveillance efforts by Chinese authorities. Now, the same officials require the wearing of masks in public places as part of efforts against the pandemic.

It's hard to be a control freak.

Similar concerns prevail in the U.S. as federal and state law enforcement agencies convert databases from sources including the U.S. State Department and state motor vehicle departments into a treasure trove of images against which to match surveillance of public places. As of last summer, the FBI had compiled a collection of 640 million faces to peruse.

Government officials may promote mask-wearing now but, as the DHS notice demonstrates, they're already worried about the effect that normalizing facial coverings has on high-tech surveillance programs. It could be frustrating to spend years developing sophisticated algorithms, and networks of cameras connected to vast databases, only to see the expensive effort thwarted by the popularization of the bandit look.

That's not to say that face masks are necessarily an absolute check on surveillance. As the NIST report points out, concealing the face to one extent or another reduces the reliability of facial recognition technology, but it doesn't completely eliminate matches.

Some security companies—particularly those serving China's police state—claim that their facial recognition technology can work around masks by matching images of people's eyes. "But the system struggles to identify people with both a mask and sunglasses," Reuters reports.

NIST plans to assess such mask-accommodating technology in the near future.

"We have begun by focusing on how an algorithm developed before the pandemic might be affected by subjects wearing face masks," says Mei Ngan, an author of the report. "Later this summer, we plan to test the accuracy of algorithms that were intentionally developed with masked faces in mind."

NIST also plans to test one-to-many searches to assess the impact of face masks on surveillance of public places.

For privacy-minded people who are skeptical of public health arguments in favor of face masks, the pandemic may prove to be less of a reason to wear face coverings than an excuse to do just that. And we may as well throw in sunglasses and a hat, just to be sure.

NEXT: Microsoft May Save TikTok From Trump's Clutches, After President Proposes Ban on Chinese Video App

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  1. Don’t try to recognize me without my consent. And also don’t force me to wear a mask. Simple.

    1. Yes, because grocers asking you to wear a mask in their shop are the greatest affront to liberty history has ever known.

      Seriously, why are you guys freaking out over this?

      Okay sure, local and state governments are requiring it too, but there’s more pushback over masks than there EVER was over motorcycle helmets. The social cost of planting your brains all over the highway is minimal as we can just hose you off the road. But the cost of not wearing a mask affects other people. It can even kill other people.

      I don’t give a shit if you walk around naked, but dammit wear a mask when out in the general public!

      1. How bout you just wear the mask and stay the fuck away from me? Same result.

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        2. I don’t know about where you are, but grocery stores where I am didn’t start demanding people wear masks until the government issued a mask mandate.

      2. “but dammit wear a mask when out in the general public!”

        No thanks.

      3. lol General Public.

      4. A few things to unpack here:
        A) Most businesses aren’t making people wear masks. Governments are doing that. And no, the government strong arming businesses to do the enforcement does not make it the businesses choice.
        B) Masks are not effective at controlling transmission of disease between asymptomatic people (a phenomena which isn’t even proven to exist, but supposing that it does masks are 100% worthless at preventing it).
        C) Leaving aside the fact that the motorcycle helmet requirement is ALSO stupid the reason there is more pushback against masks is that more people are being compelled to wear masks than there are motorcycle riders being compelled to wear helmets.

        But the cost of not wearing a mask affects other people. It can even kill other people.
        The cost of you not being locked up forever and/or killed by the state also affects other people, as you are capable of harming others. So yes, the risk does technically exist that people can inflict all sorts of awfulness on each other, but you can’t use that as an excuse for infinite repression to stomp out infinitesimal risk.

      5. Some people seem to be looking for things to complain about. I’ve been wearing a mask during the flu season for the past 3 years. When I got to the checkout at my food market, the checker says, “Hi, Ron, how’re you doing?” I had my mast on.
        “How did you recognize me?” I said.
        She just laughed.
        Those people who bitch about wearing a mask will be the first one in the complaint line when they contract a serious air-born disease. You can bet on it.

      6. Some people seem to be looking for things to complain about. I’ve been wearing a mask during the flu season for the past 3 years. When I got to the checkout at my food market, the checker says, “Hi, Ron, how’re you doing?” I had my mask on.
        “How did you recognize me?” I said.
        She just laughed.
        Those people who bitch about wearing a mask will be the first one in the complaint line when they contract a serious air-born disease. You can bet on it.

        1. @ronald73 Why do you live your life in FEAR?

      7. Wearing a mask impairs my breathing. It’s reasonable to tell me to stay home if I’m sick. It’s not reasonable to tell me I must wear an object that hurts my health, my comfort, and my quality of life.

        1. Wearing a mask impairs your breathing. Then you’re really gonna bitch about the ventilator.

          1. Guess the odds of requiring a ventilator, even if one gets sick

      8. Let’s see…. the every adult to motorcyclists ratio is 20:1, none are children and rarely an old guy. But go ahead and tell a motorcyclist they have to wear their helmet while getting a cup of coffee and see how long your idiotic comparison lines up.

        Additionally, no grocer has ever told anyone they had to wear a helmet, and few merchants made it mandatory till there was a government mandate. Quit getting your logical arguments from Good Morning America.

      9. I’m trying my absolute hardest to see things from your perspective, but I just can’t get my head that far up my ass.

  2. In related news, Reason is investigating rumors that the sun may rise in the east tomorrow.

    1. It may seem silly to say that masks are good for privacy and freedom, but there have been some colossally stupid takes on this from prominent libertarians. Like when Jeffrey Tucker wrote that masks will become a symbol of slavery. Lol.

      1. Well, if there is a democratic sweep this November, we may find the stimulus package after that will include free mandated masks complete with bar code.

      2. Wear your mask, subject.

        Free people don’t accept muzzles

        1. You do understand that there is a difference between being mandated to wear masks, and businesses choosing to ask their customers to wear masks, don’t you?

          Mandates are an overreach of power.

          Refusing to wear a mask under any circumstance is being a dick.

          And there’s a lot of room in the middle.

          1. “Manipulation, blackmail, and enforced conformity is a-ok so long as Daddy Gov doesn’t mandate it”

            I don’t think you get it

            1. How can it be any of those things if government is not involved?

              1. Better tell the whole advertising industry their model of manipulation to buy their products is wrong.

                1. I avoid advertising. I mostly listen to cds and college radio. I don’t have cable or a tv antenna. Don’t like magazines much. So I can say that they aren’t doing a good job of manipulating me because I don’t give them a chance.

                  That said, manipulation is not force. It’s not coercion. “Enforced conformity” requires force. That’s what “enforced” means.

                  I was patronizing some of the small, family-owned shops before the mask mandate. The big stores had signs, but the mom and pop places not so much. Now they all have a sign because this state’s governor is a cunt.

              2. By the way, do you think corporate collusion is fake or something?

        2. True, but gotta admit this is great news. Right now card counters in Vegas are putting strategically placed bandaids under those masks and wearing an ear covering wig to bump the software failure rate to 80%.

        3. With high tech, tracking, social media [and the list goes on], facial recognition was never anything more than an interim plan. The government and large businesses you deal with know more about where you have been, where you are. and where you are almost certain to go than you’ll ever know about yourself.

      3. “…Lol.”

        Stay on your knees, scumbag.

    2. Oh, crap. I’m glad my bedroom is on the western side of the house.

  3. On the plus side, maybe this is what will convince the control freaks to back off of their mask mandate bullshit.

    1. Hell no. They are too drunk on power and conformity to ever give that up. I don’t think even the wuflu dying out will get rid of masks. These people are fucking craven morons.

      1. At this point the only likely means of getting the progs to back off will be them dying off. A lot of them.

        Although if anyone here knows of a better alternative, I would love to hear it.

        1. In my humble opinion, any alternative that doesn’t involve the implication of murder would be better.

    2. People knew 100 years ago that masks are a good idea during a pandemic. Check out this pic from 1918, everyone is wearing a mask.

      1. Look at all those Democrats. Not a single Trump voter in the stands.

      2. So what? They wore a mask to a college football game. That is a far cry from wearing a mask every time they stepped out of their houses, which is what these idiots want.

        And they also practiced segregation and believed in phrenology a hundred years ago. Do you plan to bring those back too?

        How can anyone think you are making a clever point here?

        1. Nobody is demanding that you wear a mask every time you step out of the house. Rather, common courtesy demands that you wear one when you enter a business with other people in it, especially when the owner of the business asks you to wear one.

          1. “Rather, common courtesy demands that you wear one when you enter a business with other people in it, especially when the owner of the business asks you to wear one.”

            Only if you’re a sniveling liberal who plans to vote for Biden! Real men, as in Trump voters, will never be forced to wear masks! You can make them wear a mask when you wrap it around their cold, dead faces!

            MAGA 2020!

            Sarcasm aside, I completely agree with you.

            1. Thanks, brother.

              1. I believe the proper term is citizen or comrade. If you conformist pieces of shit are going to be conformist pieces of shit, get your terms straight.

                1. Are you so angry because you have all that extra work these days, what with the DHS getting sued left and right?

                  1. I am angry because my way of life and my freedom has been taken by retards like you. There is not enough contempt to hold people like you in. You traded away your freedom at the drop of a hat so you could conform and virtue signal and avoid a virtually nonexistent risk. It is pathetic. And people like you are unworthy of living in a free society.

                    1. Mask mandates are an anathema to freedom. No denying that. But if a business owner feels that it will make their customers safe, then you should respect them and cover your face. If you don’t then that just makes you a dick.

                    2. Where I live, it’s our progtarded governor requiring masks, by proclamation. He appears to have codified this into law unilaterally. Without the state legislature even meeting.

                      This is the democrat way. Anyone who votes for these people is a traitor to the republic.

                    3. “Mandates are anathema to freedom, unless mandated by business”

                    4. “Mandates are anathema to freedom, unless mandated by business”

                      This may come as a shock to you, but there are many businesses out there. In absence of a government mandate some ask you to cover your face and others don’t. If you don’t want to cover your face then you go to a different store.

                      This is opposed to government forcing all businesses to put up a sign.

                      Not the same thing. Can you wrap your ballsack around that simple concept?

                    5. Yes, I’m able to understand simple concepts.
                      I’m also able to grasp complex concepts beyond their superficial aspects.
                      You seem to struggle with the latter

                    6. If by that you mean I’m not into obfuscation and/or looking at everything through a political lens, then yes I will agree.

                      If you mean that people who keep things clear and simple must be simple minded, then you’re just an arrogant prick. Which you are, so I’m just repeating myself again.

                    7. No, Sara, I mean you’re a willfully ignorant midwit who can’t see anything beyond the most glaringly superficial.
                      Nothing wrong with having limitations.
                      There’s a lot wrong with trying to deny them while being an asshole

            2. Yes, we get it. You’re a child who doesn’t understand life has risks.

          2. Nobody is demanding that you wear a mask every time you step out of the house.

            Lots of people are


            And common curtesy demands that you mind your own fucking business. If you are so terrified, wear a hazmat suit. It is your right. It is also my right to choose not to. Common sense demands I tell you to go fuck yourself and take your fucking police state and shove it up your ass.

            1. The part you seem to be missing is that you don’t wear a mask for you. It’s not going to do a thing to protect you from the virus. The point is to stop you from spreading it should you have it. It’s for the people around you. If you want to be a inconsiderate prick for political reasons, go for it. It just makes you a moron.

              1. The part you are missing is that no one owes you wearing a mask. If it terrifies you that much, don’t go out. I don’t owe you precautions to adjust to your level of risk. Go fuck yourself.

                1. Did you miss the part where the mask doesn’t protect you? That means that the point of wearing it is not because you’re terrified, it’s because you’re not an inconsiderate prick who would spread germs in order to show off your politics.

                  You’re probably one of those I read about in the Daily Mail who goes around coughing on people to prove you really are going to vote for Trump.

                  1. You’d make a good Nazi.

                    Well, good is the wrong word.
                    Obedient is more appropriate

                    1. I’d say you’d make a good Trumpian dickwad, but you’ve already proven that you not just good, you’re GREAT!

                    2. Why do you always throw tantrums when people disagree with you, sarc?

                    3. You’ve never heard of Tony the Tiger?

                  2. Fuck off. You can make the exact same argument in regards to you driving only 25mph. It isn’t for your safety but in case you hit someone else.

                    Did I mention you can fuck off?

                    1. Do you understand the difference between a choice and a mandate?

                    2. Where did my argument call for a choice over a mandate ignorantic.

                      I stated that your courtesy for wearing a mask was based off of ignorance and virtue signaling because you don’t ask for the same courtesy in every choice dummy.

                    3. “I stated that your courtesy for wearing a mask was based off of ignorance and virtue signaling because you don’t ask for the same courtesy in every choice dummy.”

                      Er, what? I’m this because I don’t do that? I’m sure there’s a name for that fallacy, I just can’t think of it right now.

                    4. Just out of curiosity, JesseAz, when you went to the store today without a mask, how many people did you walk up to and cough on? Oh, and have you stopped beating your wife?

                  3. If you were trying to protect others you wouldn’t wear a vandana dummy. You’re just virtue signaling.


                    1. I’m complying with the governor’s order because I don’t want to have to interact with the police. Before the mandate I only covered my face if there was a sign asking me to. No sign, no cover. Mostly it’s to make other people feel better. I honestly couldn’t give a shit. I’m not some Trumpian retard who won’t wear a mask under any circumstance so I can show off my politics, nor am I some liberal who wears a mask all the time to show off my politics.

                      It’s not all about politics, dickhead.

                    2. “Mostly it’s to make other people feel better.”

                      And this thinking makes sense to you?
                      If so, you must love the TSA.

                      Signaling that a minor threat is a major threat, as mask wearing accomplishes, doesn’t make people feel better – it reinforces and encourages fear.
                      It also disrupts normal social interaction, further destabilizing society and increasing anxiety.

                    3. Because wearing a face covering is equivalent to some asshole laying their hands on you, x-raying your belongings, and stealing whatever they find interesting.

                      Shur dood

                    4. sarcasmic
                      August.3.2020 at 3:01 pm
                      I’m complying with the governor’s order because I don’t want to have to interact with the police.

                      That sounds incredibly voluntary, surely every business owner is requesting masks out of an abundance of caution for the fractionally small increase in risk we’ve made into airborne Ebola.

                      Fuck Trump

                  4. When the fuck did it become my responsibility for your health and safety? And why the suspending of the presumption of innocence until proven guilty (or in this case, infected) instead of your assumption that I, and everyone is has this disease and is spraying it all over you?

                    Also, just so we’re clear, and because you certainly wouldn’t want to be an inconsiderate prick, you’d be the first in line when the government decides tomorrow to declare “This mask shit isn’t working good enough, we need to better contract tracing… Everyone must get a tracking chip implanted for public health… be in line tomorrow at (insert government school, library, etc here) under penalty of law” ? Fucking sheep.

                  5. Ever since I tested positive, while shopping I enjoy pulling my mask up to expose my mouth and cough directly into the face of the morons without masks. Yes, that is lowering myself to their level of social assholeness, but as they claim, it is my “right” to infect them, and by proxy their families.

                    1. ^this is the mindset of the mask Nazis

                      Take a look

              2. Masks barely stop anything and create a false sense of safety. You do understand that things like viruses and bacteria pass right through cloth, right? Or do simple concepts related to molecular biology escape you?

                1. The virus becomes airborne when droplets of saliva containing the virus go out into the air. The point of a face covering is to stop that potentially virus-laden mist coming out of your pie hole.

                  1. We should just ask people to stop breathing – it’s the courteous thing for them to do

                    1. You would certainly be doing the world a courtesy if you stopped breathing.

                    2. Second

                    3. And that’s where your argument leads – anything is justified for the “common good”

                  2. yet dozens of studies on doctors and dentists show no reduction of antibodies for the most common ailments through mask usage.

                    1. My point was in response to “Yur dupid because viruses are like really small and stuff and pass right through masks and stuff you know?”

                    2. And your point is still incorrect as a response

              3. “The part you seem to be missing is that you don’t wear a mask for you…”

                Fuck you, you cowardly piece of lefty shit.
                Scared? got crawl in a hole and stay there. Your health is YOUR responsibility, not mine.

                1. Um….. yeah. Sure. Because I said I’m afraid to go places and wear a mask all the time. Oh wait, I said none of that. Go hump your man of straw.

              4. It is amazing how quickly the retards took up the pro mask slogans.

                1. It’s amazing how retarded Trump-voters (but I repeat myself) are such dicks.

                  No. Actually, it’s no surprise at all.

            2. You do not have a God given or unalienable right to infect other people. You do not. You just don’t.

              1. That’s the point these idiots miss. Not wearing a mask during a pandemic is actually a violation of the NAP. Cue The dipshits to start flinging shit.

              2. You do not have a god given right to breath air and expel CO2 causing global warming that may someday hurt my greatgreatgreat grandkids. So stop breathing

              3. Ok, you do not have a right to infect other people.
                But any living person can infect other people.
                Therefore, you do not have a right to life…

                1. Reductio ad absurdum. What are you, 4 years old?

                  1. Unfortunately, the logic my statement demonstrates is far more sound than that which dictates masks

              4. Everyone is always infected and the virus actually spreads through eye contact.

                Keep your head down.

          3. Nobody is demanding that you wear a mask every time you step out of the house.

            That’s… not entirely true:

            Starting Friday, every Washingtonian must wear a facial covering when in a public space, as mandated by the public health order signed by Wiesman. This includes both indoor and outdoor public spaces.

            “The science is clear that when we use face coverings, we limit the spread of droplets being passed on to others when we talk, cough or sneeze. While some of us are wearing face coverings in public, we must increase usage to best control the virus. Washington’s strategy to restart the economy and get people back to work will only be successful if, together, we act safely and follow health recommendations,” Wiesman said.

            Now, you could get all “ackshyually” and note the ‘public space’. So no, I don’t have to wear a mask if I stand on my front porch, but according to the Governor’s rule, I must be wearing one the second I step through my front gate.

            1. Don’t bother him with your bouregious facts and logic. It is revolutionary truth that matters.

            2. Ok, I was wrong. Some places are demanding that. I don’t support that.

              1. Yes you do. If you don’t support it being illegal not to wear a mask, then what is your point?

                1. That it’s common courtesy to wear a mask when you are around other people.

                  1. You might have an argument for it being a ‘courtesy’ which is a subjective concept. Objectively, it is medically almost useless, and like likely creates more problem than it solves.

                    1. I posted this before, but since you missed it:
                      70 papers that prove masks are effective

                    2. Chipper Morning Wood———————
                      August.3.2020 at 3:08 pm
                      I posted this before, but since you missed it:
                      70 papers that prove masks are effective.”

                      I for one am shocked that 70 papers have been published since March 2020 disproving 50 years of studies on mask effectiveness.

                      Since it’s “science” we should totally trust it. The earth has never seen a virus before COVID so the last 50 year of research were just speculation compared to the last 4 months of totally unbiased modeling.


                    3. Care to cite anyone of those papers from the previous 50 years that say masks don’t limit the spread of disease? Joke’s on all the people in operating rooms for the past 80 years wearing masks and gloves I guess.

                2. I strongly oppose mask mandates. Stores around here have signs saying “Because of an executive order from the governor, all customers must wear a face covering” which is the same as “It’s not our idea, sorry folks, but the governor is a cunt.”

                  Before the mandate I would only wear a mask if there was a sign on the door. Now all doors have a sign, and that sucks.

                  1. So you were inconsiderate if there wasn’t a sign?

                    1. I’m considerate of the proprietor who puts up the sign.

                  2. So if the disease were deadlier, would it be okay to mandate it then?

          4. “Nobody is demanding that you wear a mask every time you step out of the house.”

            Unless you live in a peoples republic?

          5. Nobody is demanding that you wear a mask every time you step out of the house.

            $1000 fine in DC

          6. Rather, common courtesy demands that you wear one when you enter a business with other people in it, especially when the owner of the business asks you to wear one.

            FWIW, I agree with the “common courtesy” argument. I may not like wearing it, but I’m not going to be a dick about it. But, what if the business owner is requiring a mask because the State has told him if he wants to stay in business he’s required to make his customers wear them and encouraged him to call the cops on anyone who refuses, resulting in fines* and possibly even jail time for anyone who refuses? And what about the pin-heads who are pushing for a national level mask mandate (many of whom have accused Trump of acting like a dictator in the past while unironically demanding that he act like a dictator now)?

            * When it comes to figuring out government motivation always follow the money.

            1. You should be a total dick about it. Sometimes the time comes when even assholes have their use. This is one of those times. You can’t be too big of a dick telling these conformist bastards to fuck off.

              1. The company that I work for demands that I wear a mask and follow particular rules while on their property. Because I like my job and wish to continue getting paid, I do what they say. You can continue being a totally badass nonconformist dick with your own livelihood.

                1. Good for you. What else are you willing to do because you like your job?

                  1. Get up at 6:00 in the morning
                    Drive 30 minutes to and from the building
                    Spend 8 hours of my day doing what I’m told to do
                    Walk up the up stairs and down the down stairs
                    Go in the in doors and out the out doors
                    Don’t use the elevator unless I’m moving something that requires the elevator

                    Those are a few quick hits at least. The one thing I don’t do is tell them that masks are totally ineffective at stopping the spread of diseases and therefore I won’t be wearing one and they can’t make me because I’m too cool for their rules.

          7. Common courtesy demands you end yourself.
            You don’t want to be impolite now

          8. NO! Some states are saying every time you leave the house even to exercise and some even while swimming, try breathing through a wet mask, some people would call that waterboarding

        2. And they also practiced segregation and believed in phrenology a hundred years ago. Do you plan to bring those back too?

          I’ll make sure to bring this up next time you complain about how things were so much better in the past.

          1. If I ever appeal to the past as an authority, please do. Since unlike you, I am not a fucking moron, you will be waiting a long time to do that.

            1. John, your whole existence is just appeals to the past.

              1. No. Just because you are too stupid and ignorant to ever win an argument doesn’t mean I appeal to the past. It just means you are stupid and ignorant.

              2. John, your whole existence is just appeals to the past.

                Flock of Seagulls, best band ever. Discuss.

                1. nu-huh


                2. 3 words (?) Kool-mo-dee

      3. There were also a lot of people who protested wearing masks back then too, with many of the same arguments as today wrt civil liberties. It’s not like everyone just magically agreed 102 years ago*. Most of the disagreements back then were about whether the government should have the authority to order people to wear them. Last I checked authoritarian governments ordering people around, even in the name of “Science,” instead of trusting them to make their own assessment of risks and act accordingly was something libertarians were usually against.

        It helped that government was generally less ham-fisted about it back then (“Don’t wear masks, they’re not effective! No, wear the masks, just don’t hoard them we need them for first responders! No fuck it, everyone is required to wear a damn mask or else we’ll encourage people to call the cops – the very same cops we’ve been accusing of SySteMiC RaCiSm for the last 2 months – on you!”). I also suspect there weren’t nearly as many obnoxious Karens who would pepper spray people for not wearing masks while pic-nicking in a park back then. IOW, people were a lot less full retard about it.

        *One can learn a lot in the Five second it takes to google “did people protest being required to wear masks during the 1918 spanish flu pandemic.”

      4. You got any other popular ideas from early 20th century social The Science you’d like to promote?

      5. everyone knew 100 years ago what 40 years of research disproved? Don’t ever say you’re a scientist. Until this year masks were never deemed effective for flu or cold or viruses on general. In fact it was the sue of antiseptic on exit and entry to patient rooms that had the only noticeable effect on transmission rates in hospitals.

        The science on masks hasn’t actually even changed. What changed was the acceptance of models over controlled trials and data.

        Basically what I’m saying is you’re ignorant.

        1. “Basically what I’m saying is you’re ignorant.”

          You are an authority on the subject.

      6. When the current flu bug going around from wuhan gets to within an order of magnitude as deadly as the Spanish flu, ill wear a mask. Until then, fuck off slaver.

      7. people today would also wear a mask to a baseball game if only they were allowed to go to a game but we aren’t even allowed that. IF the government hadn’t shut down and just said wear a mask people would have just like they did the first few weeks of shut downs but soon the government moved the goal post and people saw that if the government isn’t lying to us then they don’t know whats what and we need to ignore but its clear it evolved from what was needed to stop the spread to absolute control for any reason just like soda taxes

  4. “For privacy-minded people who are skeptical of public health arguments in favor of face masks, the pandemic may prove to be less of a reason to wear face coverings than an excuse to do just that. And we may as well throw in sunglasses and a hat, just to be sure.”

    I go shopping with a baseball cap, Ray Bans, and a bandanna over my face. You know, to make people feel comfortable and safe.

    1. My husband wears a cowboy hat and a bandana. I think it’s why most people don’t ask him to pull the mask up even though it’s mandated. He looks like he’s going to rob a bank last century.

      1. that would be even funnier in an open carry state


    Kids are also using the masks to buy booze under 21. This gives me hope that Gen Z will turn out better than Generation Retard Millennial has.

    1. Purely anecdotal, but “the kids these days” do seem to have a bit more of a rebellious streak than the average millennial. At least it seems that way to me, but who knows, subjective impressions are subjective.

  6. >>we should at least be able to agree that face coverings are a great way to defeat the surveillance state

    lol there’s no agreeing anymore dude.

    1. Ooh yay! A 5% error rate. Victory.

  7. But now they’re starting to give me a sore throat. On the weekend, if I have to go to multiple stores and have one on for a total of more than about 30 minutes, I start to get a sore throat. Yes, the masks are clean going on. The soreness goes away after a while, but it’s no fun. I have to take a break every once and a while.

    1. That’s why I use bandannas instead of masks.

      1. I usually wear one of those stretchy tubes that just hangs over your nose and drapes over your face. I guess it’s just re-inhaling my moist breath that does it.

        1. I’m quite sure that it is. Bandannas allow for more air. I’ve got some of those disposable blue things and those suck. Try going cowboy style. It might help.

          1. So you bitch about common courtesy above but show you’re just a virtue signaling moron?


            1. The only people bitching are you and your fellow Trumpians who go up to old women and cough in their faces.

              1. So the mask is the only thing keeping you from going up to people and coughing on them?

                I don’t cough on people now, whether or not I have a mask on, and I didn’t cough on people before.

                What is wrong with you?

                1. You’re a Trump supporter who has nothing but contempt for people who wear masks for any reason, so why wouldn’t you go cough on them? You’re a pig.

                  1. Because coughing on people does occur to anyone else?

        2. I guess it’s just re-inhaling my moist breath that does it.

          It also depends a lot on what the mask is made out of. Some materials do out-gas and/or have more particulate matter coming off of them which can irritate the throat as well as cause other problems when inhaled for long periods.

          1. Maybe it’s coronavirus that’s giving them a sore throat.

        3. Couple more months, once the weather cools off, I’ll be wearing a balaclava and tinted ski goggles everywhere I go. Not because I’m some pussy mask-conformist, but because I like to mess with people.

    2. They are unhealthy as all get out. And they do nothing to stop the spread of the virus that not going out if you have a fever and covering your nose with a handkerchief when you sneeze would not. But they allow idiots like Chipper to virtue signal and create a police state. So, they have that going for them.

      1. Totally useless. Just ask Herman Cain. Too bad you weren’t at the Trump rally instead of him. He was very likeable and intelligent . You, not so much.

    3. Next time you are in a grocery store, pick up some cheesecloth.
      Use a single layer to make a mask.
      Since the CDC only recommends “cloth face coverings”, you are compliant.
      Problem solved.

      The one time I tried a conventional “cloth face covering”, My O2 percentage dropped by 6 points in less than 5 minutes, and I left the place.
      With my friend Mr. Cheese, I can go up to 20 minutes before the gag reflex really cuts in.

    4. My fingers hurt…

  8. I wonder what would happen if they tested against masks with noses/mouths printed on. How well would it work if I had the nose/mouth/chin of Elvis or Humphrey Bogart?

    1. Use Pelosi

    2. Clown masks for the win!

    3. There are masks with a gorilla nose/mouth on them. I’m trying very hard not to make an inappropriate comment about that.

      1. Patrick Ewing was the missing link?

  9. It’s hard to be a control freak.

    What are you talking about? They forbid wearing them and were able to punish people for wearing them. Then they mandated them and are able to punish people for not wearing them. At what point in any of this was their ability to punish people for disobeying made difficult?

  10. No one knows what it’s like to be the bad man, to be the sad man.

    1. Behind blue eyes

  11. Hey, an actual peaceful protest that didn’t make the major daily.

    Firsthand witnesses told the Lynnwood Times that a neighbor tipped off residents to dozens of vehicles traversing the street of the private residence of Best. Neighbors aware of Best’s physical home location, established a perimeter to protect her home from possible mischief. Best was not home at the time of the incident.

    A crowd of about 200 persons, mostly white men and women in their twenties, were dressed in black with masks and black hoods and carried signs that read “Black Lives Matter.” Black Lives Matter protestors shouted profanity and insults at neighbors, took license plate information on vehicles, took pictures of homes, and asked little kids who lived in the neighborhood what schools they attended.

    Other BLM protesters carrying large duffle bags attempted to make their way to Chief Best’s private residence. When confronted by neighbors to show the content of the large duffle bags, protesters refused to cooperate. There were no reports of any physical altercations.

    Just so you know the context, “Best” is Carmen Best, Seattle Police Chief.

    1. She actually gets protection from a different county and different neighbors not in Seattle. Irony? I’ll let you decide.

    2. So Seattle still has police?

      1. Sounds like the chief blew town, so probably not.

        1. The Chief is smart. She doesn’t live in Seattle.

      2. Well, it has Carmen Best standing outside the Seattle City Council Drum Circle, jumping up and down saying, “Uhh, hang on a second…” while the council draws up its plans to eliminate the department.

    3. A crowd of about 200 persons, mostly white men and women in their twenties…

      Gee, what a shock that the majority of these ass-clowns are white people in their 20’s.

    4. But what official and licensed connection did they have to BLM?
      Do we know that?
      How can you call them black lives matter then?
      /white knight

  12. Face masks, in relation to the virus, have one main purpose: to impose sensory stimuli that represents what is essentially an otherwise imaginary threat, thus justifying totalitarian measures in response and reinforcing social conditioning.

    This is where they have improved their game from the global warming excuse – they figured out a way to make us FEEL and SEE the “threat”.

  13. 2020: The year the world became muffled.

  14. reason koch libs finding new ways to live as stainless steel rats. About right for a group of people who subvert all normality.

    1. Is your comment in relation to Harry Harrison?

  15. “It’s hard to be a control freak.”

    Actually, it’s pretty easy for those skilled in the art of doublethink.

  16. I don’t know about all of that, but I do know that it’s confusing the *fuck* out of the ‘unlock it with your face’ feature on my smartphone.

    Its old nemesis used to be baseball hats and / or glasses.

    Seriously, it’s got worse facial recognition capabilities than Lois Lane.

    1. Setup alternative face for your phone.

  17. We’ve lost our fucken minds.

    There is superstition.

  18. No, facial recognition technology is the bad thing. Having to cover our faces is a bad thing.

    Freedom by deliberately repressing yourself isn’t really freedom.

    1. Masks are liberty!

    2. That must be why you go shopping buck naked, right? To be free of the tyranny of wearing clothes in public?

  19. Don’t worry. The algorithms will have plenty of data to crunch so they can identify you through the face diaper.

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  21. Facial recognition who needs that the government can just recognize cell phones trackers and link to owners.

    1. ^this

      The facial recognition freak out has never made much sense to me.
      If a government would utilize facial recognition to monitor those on their radar, and you’re on their radar, they don’t need facial recognition to do it.

      What exactly do people who think facial recognition, but not mandatory/”suggested” mask wearing, is a huge threat to liberty afraid of?
      What is so threatening about facial recognition?
      Please be somewhat specific

      1. To the contrary…

        Police in the US have been using facial recognition to track down people that attended protests. And then those people coincidentally end up dead.

        So no… there are plenty of scenarios in which they do not already have the information necessary to target you.

        1. So the US is using facial recognition technology to track down the thousands of people attending protests then secretly murdering them… but there’s nothing nefarious behind their pushing of masks?

          Please, do go on

        2. ok, who ended up dead?

        3. Fantastical claims require heavy duty evidence. Especially when there is the much easier way to track protestors called, look at the BLM twitter feed for idiots who put their full name beside a video of them committing a crime.

          First rule of crime, its not that cops are smart, it’s that criminals are stupid.

          1. First corollary;
            The cops can make a hundred mistakes, the crooks only one.

  22. I’ve been to China 3 times, lots of people wear masks for various reasons, air pollution, germs, they don’t want to put on make up, etc But now many people wear them as a big F U to the government for their use of facial recognition cameras. Some wear big hats, sun glasses and a mask that covers everything but their eyes. it’s quite amusing, and good for them.

  23. I “feel” for the problems of facial recognition technology. That said, how did we even manage without it? Obviously we did, and we managed pretty well too.

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  25. A mask, hat and sunglasses hides the fact that I’m pushing 100. Now I just have to paint some flames on my walker.

  26. Goodness.

    This comment section… y’all might as well print T-Shirts that say “Typhoid Mary was Right!” on them.

    As I’ve said in the past, there are some Libertarian ideas that appeal to me. But libertarians are the biggest reason to not be libertarian.

    1. There are two flavors to libertarianism.

      There is “humanitarian libertarianism”. These are libertarians who genuinely care about other people. It is a type of thinking that advocates liberty because it frees people from bondage. It unleashes human potential and makes the world a better place.

      Then there is “misanthropic libertarianism”. These are libertarians who genuinely don’t give a shit about other people. They want to keep THEIR stuff and THEIR liberty and THEIR rights and to hell with the rest of y’all.

      The misanthropes are completely obnoxious but ultimately self-defeating. You can’t have any working organized society comprised completely of self-entitled assholes. So let them have their little temper-tantrums while the rest of us work to create liberty for all.

      1. You could cross out libertarian from that and it would still be true.

        Look, nobody likes libertarians. The hill upon which it stands is shot through. Ideas like smaller government, non aggression, individual liberty and responsibility, free markets, they just do not sell.

        So be it for me. I am still there. Perhaps people were not ready for those ideals.

        1. Except for the free markets, I suspect that libertarian ideas are the shapes in many people’s heads while they nod along to group responsibility dogma. Taking individual liberty as a given, taking it for granted; looking for ways to socialize the responsibility while privatizing the profit; and no one has a decent mental concept of “the size of government.” Do what thou wilt, an ye harm none, shall be the whole of the law, wasn’t that Alistair Crowley? I think most teenagers encounter some version of that. They (most) fear their own capacity to do harm so they retreat from the implications. But it’s always there.

          I don’t mean that people will realize they have been libertarians all along and there will be a chariots of fire moment. But I think part of the bizarre devotion to group functioning is a) due to public schools and b) they have never heard a discussion of governance or state that turned on the individual; even when it uses the word individual it’s actually about groups. Most people in the modern world do very few things alone. I’ve been pretty lucky actually to not have always been in that category, I have worked by myself. So I have been able to develop a concept of the individual. Social media has blurred the lines even further between what people think their self encompasses, and what their position is as an individual in the world.
          No man is only an island, but the level at which each of us is an island is a level that must be understood in order to create and participate in functioning groups. I’m late to the party but I think this whole libertarian business is a necessary lever. Does not mean an unalloyed libertarianist solution is the best for every problem (I think. I have more reading to do.)
          I am concerned that for many people, their sense of individuality is actually a sense of what they feel they can get others to do or respond to. Then individual freedom becomes individual dominance. That there exist people who will honestly not fuck with you, live and let live, is something more people should know about. As humans, that potential will never disappear, I think.
          The Sanders campaign brought this into sharp relief for me. I think most followers no more understand socialism than they understand astrophysics. There’s just a large quantity of people with similar needs, and when their individual needs are described everyone goes Wow, they understand me, and then the discussion of group success manifests as a description of an unspecificed large number of individuals obtaining the fulfillment of their individual needs. The politically beholden committee making every decision and the removal of the incentive of advantage is missing from the mental picture. They hear group but think individual and go along with it. A lot of people are ready for the ideas, they’ve been ready for the ideas. I think.

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  29. If masks thwart surveillance of facial precognition monitors, I’ll buy two! Another benefit of wearing a face mask is the amount of attention and respect you obtain when you walk into a bank wearing a mask.

    Last week I wore a mask into a bank and they tried to GIVE me money. I demurred and walked out of the bank calmly, my hand never left my pocket.

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