Facial recognition and biometric technology is being applied more often in different environments. For example, Facebook makes it easier for you to tag your friends in photos by using facial recognition technology. Some smartphones even allow you to use a fingerprint password to unlock your phone. Aside from these examples, facial recognition technology is also being used within some law enforcement agencies.
San Diego Law Enforcement has been using facial recognition technology since 2013, when it began as a research and development project funded by the National Institute of Justice. The Tactical Identification System (TACIDS) was comprised of 134 devices distributed among 67 certified law enforcement personnel. Today, it’s up to 433 devices among 991 personnel.
These devices are usually tablets or smartphones that have access to the Automated Regional Justice Information System (ARJIS) App. If an officer feels that an individual is being dishonest about his identity, or if the officer would like to determine whether or not the individual is a threat, he or she would use the device to take a photo. This photo is then sent to ARJIS’ Facial Recognition Platform (FRP) via text. The FRP produces a lineup of possible matches based on a biometric algorithm and sends it to the officer. The officer reviews the lineup, selects a match, and resubmits it to the ARJIS web server to pull the individual’s records. This process normally takes days, but can be accessed within minutes thanks to this advanced system.
Concerns have been raised by citizens, mainly focused on consent for photos and privacy issues. However, if any officer suspects an individual of being involved in a crime, he does not need to ask for consent. Also, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) assures that the photos that are submitted to the ARJIS FRP are not stored anywhere. Any of the photos taken on the devices must be deleted, whether or not a match was found. Furthermore, the photos are only compared to the sheriff’s department booking database, so if a person has not been booked at a county jail, then a match will not be found. SANDAG confirmed that ARJIS only has access to images of individuals arrested in San Diego County.
While this technology is mainly used by the San Diego Police Department, every law enforcement agency in San Diego has access to it. This includes the San Diego Unified School District, San Diego State University, and UC San Diego.
The main purpose of this tool is to improve policing techniques while better serving and protecting the people. What are your thoughts on the use of this technology by law enforcement? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. You can also connect with us on Vine and Pinterest.
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As you’ve probably noticed, biometric technology is slowly but surely making its way into our lives. More commonly used for authentication purposes, biometrics measure and analyze a variety of body characteristics. From automatic face-tagging on social media to thumbprint passwords on our smart devices, it’s likely that these technologies will continue to advance and afford us new and exciting experiences.
Of these biometric technologies, facial recognition seems to be the most promising. Facial recognition has come a long way and, in conjunction with information we already possess, will continue to refine its capabilities. Google has algorithms that can already match a child photo to the adult photo, while Facebook’s algorithms can recognize a person by hair style and body shape, sometimes without the presence of a face. The archives of driver’s license photos not only provide a focused, face forward picture with adequate lighting, but also identification information such as name and date of birth. The combination of these photos, plus photos from social media, which provide different angles and light conditions, allow for facial recognition technology to improve.
The proliferation of facial recognition technologies is fascinating, but you may wonder what exactly it may be used for. For business analytics, facial recognition can be a great asset. With customer information and behavior at the business’ fingertips, you, as the consumer, may get a more personalized experience. For example, based on your shopping history, they can determine which items you may prefer over others. And while ads can be bothersome, they are less so when they actually pertain to a product or service you are interested in.
Aside from retail, facial recognition can increase safety and security in public places such as amusement parks, sporting events, music festivals, or even in churches. Facial recognition allows authorities to identify and monitor attendees to these events and places. The goal is to spot any suspicious behaviors or possible threats before anything can happen.
As with any type of surveillance, privacy issues will arise. And as these technologies become more prevalent, regulations will need to be put into place. Those who may oppose this type of surveillance may solely be concerned with data collection, however, analysis of this data can afford us a great deal of information. Dangers will exist whether there is surveillance or not, but facial recognition and biometric technologies could give us the upper hand in capturing criminals or preventing crimes all together.
What are your thoughts on facial recognition or biometric technology in general? Do you think it will eventually be commonplace, or will it be met with heavy opposition? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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Debuted at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, the Netatmo Welcome camera is a new endeavor for the company. More prominently known for its weather station, this home security camera keeps you connected to your live feed for better home security.
What sets the Netatmo Welcome camera apart from the rest is its excellent features. You can stay connected through iOS, Android, or PC/MAC apps to remotely view your feed. The camera itself boasts 1080p, 130 degree field of view plus infrared LEDs enabling night vision, and, most impressively, facial recognition. More and more cameras are being equipped with facial recognition technology, but its entrance into the home security field is brilliant. You can track the in home activity of your family members and be alerted when an unrecognized person is in your home.
Of course, privacy concerns will always arise. The camera records all data on a local SD card rather than being uploaded to the Cloud, and the live stream “is secured by a bank-level encrypted connection.” And, with companion apps and accessories, you can choose how closely you monitor each person within your home, at what times, as well as determine which type of notifications you would like to receive. You can also monitor when doors or windows open or close.
A release date is yet to be determined. For now, we want to hear your thoughts on the Welcome camera. Do you like the idea of facial recognition and keeping tabs on the people within your home? Do you think this home security camera will be a hit when it becomes available? Share your thoughts with us on our social networks – Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or Pinterest.
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