Facial Recognition Prevention

Beyond the national defense, Belgian Defense is the mirror image of the country, and as such professionalism, credibility and reputation are of utmost importance. A public show of force are official ceremonies, parades, and the celebration of the national day, and many other events. These appearances symbolize the nation's strength, resilience, and commitment to its values.

During public events such as parades and ceremonies, army members are often photographed. The photos are then published in newspapers, magazines, and on social media. Although this practice is good for publicity, it creates a risk for the members of Belgian Defense and Belgian Defense’s activities in general.

How can members of Belgian Defense be identified?

Members of Belgian Defense can be present on social media platforms (with their own private profile or through profiles of family members or friends). With new advances in artificial intelligence, an adversary could identify a large number of military personnel in an automated fashion. An adversary could take official pictures of army members that are publicly shared and match them with social media profiles to retrieve additional information (e.g. name, address, friends, and family details).

If malicious actors retrieve such private information, Belgian Defense personnel can face several apparent risks, such as:

  1. Personal Security Risks: Military members and their families are vulnerable to targeted threats, harassment, blackmailing, or even physical harm from malicious actors;
  2. Cybersecurity Threats: Spear phishing, social engineering, and other cyberattacks may be directed at individuals through their social media profiles;
  3. Influence Operations: Adversarial nations or groups may attempt to influence or manipulate military members through social media, spreading misinformation, propaganda, or extremist ideologies.


The goal of this project is to study face recognition tools, and evaluate how they can be used to retrieve information about military personnel. The outcome of the project is 2-fold:

  1. evaluate the effectiveness of current face recognition systems that scan social media and information websites;
  2. evaluate the digital presence of military personnel on social media and information websites.

Expected outcome

  • source code of the tests on our GitLab server
  • a project report documenting the executed tests and results
  • 1 blog post
  • 1 poster

Required skills

To start this project you should have some knowledge of programming.


Applicant's country of origin must be a member of EU or NATO

Here are examples of a few face recognition libraries, that could be used for the project:


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