AVG's Invisibility Glasses promise to protect your privacy in public

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 2, 2015
Updated • Mar 2, 2015

AVG unveiled Invisibility Glasses, a new product from its Innovation Labs, yesterday in Barcelona.

I have to admit that I imagined a different kind of product when I read its name, thinking of a product that would make the wearer invisible or one that would automatically remove objects or people in your sight when you use the glasses.

Invisibility Glasses serve a different purpose though. They have been designed by AVG to protect your privacy when you are in public.

Depending on where you live, surveillance cameras may be a common occurrence. They monitor specific locations and many record what is happening or use facial recognition software to identify people.

But surveillance cameras are just part of the problem. All modern phones come with cameras and the rise of sites such as Facebook, Instagram or Google Plus increase the likelihood that photos that you are in end up online.

Even if you take special care not to upload photos to these services, others that you come in contact with either on the street or elsewhere may do so regularly.

Sites like Facebook use facial recognition algorithms with great success already creating connections between people, places and time in the process.

AVG's glasses are designed to protect your identity "through a mixture of technology and specialist materials". The company sheds some light on those technologies used.

The glasses use infrared light and retro-reflective materials to prevent facial recognition algorithms from identifying the person wearing them.

It is clear that these glasses are not protecting you completely. While facial recognition software may be unable to identify you directly, it is still possible that someone looking at the photo may.

To use the Facebook example again: the uploader or another person may add your name as a tag on Facebook identifying you manually on the site instead. While you'd be shown wearing glasses, you'd still end up identified on the site.

AVG notes that the technologies implemented are not 100 fail-safe either. The retro-reflective materials work only if Flash photography is used for example and the infrared light may not be effective if filters are used by cameras.

Closing Words

I don't think that these glasses have mass market appeal or that they will be launched as a product by AVG in the near future. It is good however that companies and researchers work on solutions to address growing privacy concerns in this area.

Now You: What are your major privacy concerns?

AVG's Invisibility Glasses promise to protect your privacy in public
Article Name
AVG's Invisibility Glasses promise to protect your privacy in public
AVG unveiled proof-of-concept glasses that aim to protect your privacy by making it difficult for facial recognition algorithms to identify you.

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Earl said on March 2, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    Ah-ha, so now we know why Lois Lane never recognized Clark Kent as Superman (well, those do look like Clark’s style). On a more serious note, there are people who go out in public and think that maintaining “privacy” is actually a thing? …fascinating.

  2. XenoSilvano said on March 2, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    (Goodness, I had to delete that inicial portion of my comment because the idea that I wanted to purpose is was the same idea mentioned in the article, I started writting before I had finished reading the article. ‘Infered’ yeah that was exactly what I was thinking of, whops, anyway).

    I am awaiting for the day that some company releases a technology that pixelates the face to all type of cameras (good luck with that), sort of the way it is demonstrate in the film Elysium, we would all be stuffed then(!), on a side note, I cannot believe that some governments have banned the use of face coverings, people (should) have the right to remain anonymous in public.

    I feel uncomfortable with the blatantly obvious dystopic path that humanity is heading in. I do not think that the sort of moral conduct that governments and private instituitions place on humanity is a positive one. We are all proceeding into a reality where empowering technology is become ever more pervasive throughout society, which is an emergent reality that (I think) our governing bodies have not adaquately placed enough consideration in preparing it’s citizenry for, which nothing good can come of, as the say goes “with great power comes great responsibility”, therefore, it should not be too hard for anyone to figure-out what sort of direction this path is leading us in.

  3. Bill said on March 2, 2015 at 10:27 am

    Security services might be interested to know who buys such things.

  4. paul r said on March 2, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Can this tech be used on a vehicle license plate?

    1. Jim said on March 3, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      There are spray coatings that do this. Much cheaper and easier. Also illegal, but hard to detect.

    2. Herman said on March 2, 2015 at 4:19 pm

      I was thinking of exactly the same thing. A very subtle strip or covering of whatever the material is, placed over the plate. If its something like the anti-glare material in current eyeglass lenses coupled with the secret ingredient “X” This may finally be a true threat to speed cameras which are so numerous in my city that I need waze 100% of the time to keep up with the constantly moving remote cameras.

      1. BMO said on March 3, 2015 at 10:13 pm

        I actually do drive the speed limit. Everywhere. And the reaction you get from other drivers is downright dangerous and sometimes psychotic. Even had a guy try to stop me and attack me on the freeway because of it. Part of the blame does lie with the ridiculously low speedlimits (or speed traps, really).

        So I completely sympathize with Guest. Better to just keep up with the cameras. It’s safer.

      2. Guest said on March 3, 2015 at 11:05 am


        Kinda difficult to keep below the speed limit when the local municipality sets ridiculously low speed limits.

      3. Samm said on March 3, 2015 at 8:51 am

        Instead of trying to “keep up” with the speed cameras, why not just keep under the speed limit?

        That probably sounds sarcastic, and I’m sorry, but it’s not that hard to not speed…

    3. Martin Brinkmann said on March 2, 2015 at 10:19 am

      I don’t see any reason why not.It may be illegal though depending on where you live.

  5. RossN said on March 2, 2015 at 9:59 am

    Cheaper and funny at the same time? http://is.gd/5sB43u

    1. PhoneyVirus said on March 4, 2015 at 2:04 am

      Nice! lol

    2. Jim said on March 3, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      Ooops. Must have clicked the wrong reply button.

    3. Martin Brinkmann said on March 2, 2015 at 10:05 am

      I thought about this as it reminded me of Zak McKracken and how the aliens disguised themselves.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.