Facial recognition software that blurs your sensitive data when you’re not looking at it

Well, here’s a whole different kind of “endpoint security” from the usual.

A product called “PrivateEye” uses your computer’s webcam to identity your face. While you’re sitting in front of your PC and looking at the screen, PrivateEye’s facial recognition software knows not to do anything – but as soon as you look away, the contents of your screen become an unintelligible blur.

Peeking at someone else's laptop

It’s not going to stop malware and remote hackers stealing data from your computer’s hard drive, but it could – claim developers Oculis Labs – prevent “shoulder-surfers” who try to spy what’s on your screen when you’re reading confidential information. That’s because if the PrivateEye software spies an extra face alongside yours it can immediately hide your screen’s contents.

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Sounds like a fun tool to play with! But unfortunately I don’t have a copy, so I have to make do with this YouTube video instead:


Good luck to the folks at Oculis Labs who produce “PrivateEye”.

It’s great to see a small technology company trying something different, although I’m not sure how popular this would be in the corporate environment. Think about all the times you invite someone over to your desk to show them the groovy animation you’ve just done in PowerPoint, or ask the IT guy to visit to work out why Lotus Notes isn’t working properly.

Has anyone out there tried PrivateEye? If so, do me a favour and try the following and tell me if it worked or not:

Balloon face

1) Draw a smiley face on a balloon and put it in front of your webcam. Were you able to fool PrivateEye?

Dog working at computer

2) Grab the dog and sit him on your chair. Any luck?

Being John Malkovich

3) Try a face mask on a stick, “Being John Malkovich”-style.

I can imagine this software being a lot of fun. Funnily enough, it reminded me a little of the RAPIL April Fool that SophosLabs produced a few years back – but I’m sure that PrivateEye isn’t a joke!

Hat-tip: I found out about PrivateEye through a PC Magazine review, written by the legendary Neil Rubenking.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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