This article was originally posted at https://temporaryerror.com/the-true-benefits-of-wearing-a-mask.
A great number of countries have enforced mandatory wear of masks in public places due to the Coronavirus epidemic. However, in terms of contraceptive, their benefit is highly disputed. As a recent study from Denmark shows that the wear of surgical masks in public did not significantly reduce the Covid-19 infection rate among the wearers, as the health benefits were below 50%. In other words, as a protection from the Coronavirus, the masks are not very effective. However, the general use of masks has some non-health-related benefits that many people don’t think about.
Protection from face recognition software
Face recognition is getting popular. China has already implemented it on a national level, and many other countries practise it in some locations. It doesn’t need to be pointed out how face recognition software violates your privacy when practised on a general level. It’s a tool that is used to violate your human rights further. In China, for example, face recognition software is used hand-in-hand with their social credit system, which is mainly used to discriminate citizens and punish them for their lifestyle that is incongruent with the political views of the state. However, a simple trick of wearing a mask allows you to protect yourself from the Big Brother.
Protection from video surveillance cameras
This is strongly related to the previous point; however, when facial recognition is still pretty rare, video surveillance is covering the majority of public spaces and is a real nuisance to privacy. Again if you cover your face even partially, it’s a lot harder to recognize you from a video. Video surveillance is also not the best quality, so a single mask may be enough to make to totally unrecognizable. Same applies to any witness statements if you accidentally happen to be a perpetrator of a crime.
People will not recognize you.
This is a massive help to celebrities who are often harassed by intrusive fans or paparazzi. But even for ordinary people, this can be a considerable benefit. We all know someone we don’t like and don’t want anything to do with, and the last thing we want is that person to come and talk to us. A mask may not be enough to disguise you completely, but if you add sunglasses and a hat to the equation, even your family members will walk right past you.
Note that only fabric and surgical masks provide the privacy protection mentioned above. Transparent mouth covers do not, which is one more reason not to use them, in addition to the fact that they look ridiculously foolish.
If you enter a bank wearing a balaclava during the coronavirus epidemic, the staff will not pay attention to you. And you will have to wait patiently in the line for your turn to rob the bank.