In the last few months, we have covered the growing influence of facial recognition technology incorporated into a security camera installation . Now, it seems that we are one step closer to having such tech in society, following a recommendation from the Home Secretary .
This type of surveillance software is designed to spot suspects in public spaces and has already been trialled by several UK police forces, including the Metropolitan Police and South Wales Police at sporting events, festivals and down the high street. The reaction to this news has not been universally positive – the tech is currently the subject of a legal challenge after a man objected to his image being taken by South Wales Police in Cardiff.
Despite this, Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has said that it ' is important that police make use of the latest tools to help them solve crimes ' and has given his approval for a possible nationwide rollout in the near future.
How Is Face Recognition Software Used With A Security Camera Installation?
Thanks to the innovation in security camera technology over the last decade, it has become possible for owners to record and monitor with high-definition images . Not only that, but they are able to send pictures over vast wired or wireless networks, over the internet to computers, smartphones, tablets,storage devices or the virtual Cloud. In short, the security camera installation of today is a perfect vehicle for facial recognition software to drive in. With facial recognition, police are able to quickly and easily identify known persons, apprehending them for crimes committed or preventing them before they do.
How Does Facial Recon Work?
There are four steps to how face recognition cameras work. They are:
1. Photographs of faces, which have been taken from the police's database, are mapped by the software. The mapping process involves building a model of a face, with every single feature included in detail, in an attempt to literally 'build up the correct picture' of a possible suspect.
2. The cameras are installed or temporarily placed in the areas that require monitoring. These could be anything from the local high street to large gatherings and events; anywhere that would prove difficult for the police to identify any known criminals.
3. The cameras will scan the crowds, with each face being captured and ran against the database to pick out known or wanted people. Any possible matches are flagged up and the information sent to officers.
4. Any photographs that are taken that don't result in a match (i.e. most of them) will be kept for several weeks – and this is the crux of the issue that many people have with the technology.
What's The Issue With Facial Recognition?
The privacy concern is just one of a few issues that critics have aboutincluding face recognition in a security camera installation. The civil rights group, Liberty, have said the camera software is “ dangerously intrusive and discriminatory technology that destroys our privacy rights and forces people to change their behaviour ".
In the ongoing case in South Wales, the claim brought against the police's use of the software says that a 'weak regulation' makes it easy for the data, taken without consent, to be mismanaged. Indeed, Liberty have also said that capturing the data is tantamount to 'taking people's DNA or fingerprints without their knowledge or consent' – if mismanaged, it could have the huge potential to be catastrophic.
Aside from the issue of privacy, the ' Neoface ' technology trialled by the Met Police has been performing poorly – only identifying 1 out of every 5 people on average. Furthermore, it is said to perform poorly when scanning faces of black and ethnic minority people – potentially leading to an increased number of mismatches.
What's The Next Step?
Despite the backing of the Home Secretary, it may be some time before we see facial recognition software in CCTV employed nationwide. The legal challenges and performance issues would need to be addressed before the subject is raised in The House of Commons, let alone voted upon. Nevertheless, the recommendation is still a huge step forward for security camera technology.
As outlined earlier, the only reason that any kind of facial recognition is possible is all thanks to the high qualities of today's CCTV cameras. With their HD recording capabilities, there has never been a better time to invest in such a system to protect your business. Interested in learning more? Why not consider getting in touch with the CCTV security experts here at Maxtag?
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