The Chinese government's plans for mass surveillance using facial recognition have received a boost from one of the country's tech powerhouses, after Alibaba led a $600m investment in SenseTime, which develops technology for tracking individuals. The company is working on facial and object recognition technology that accurately can spot people using cameras, recently demonstrated on CCTV in Beijing. Honda is using SenseTime for its driverless car research and development and it is also being used at shopping counters that allows customers to check-out using their faces. SenseTime already smashed the record for AI funding, beating British competitor DeepMind which was bought by Google for an...
San Francisco supervisors approved a ban on police using facial recognition technology, making it the first city in the U.S. with such a restriction. SAN FRANCISCO – A routine traffic stop goes dangerously awry when a police officer's body camera uses its built-in facial recognition software to misidentify a motorist as a convicted felon. At best, lawsuits are launched. That imaginary scenario is what some California lawmakers are trying to avoid by supporting Assembly Bill 1215, the Body Camera Accountability Act, which would ban the use of facial recognition software in police body cams – a national first if it passes a Senate vote this summer and is signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. State law enforcement officials here do not now employ the technology to scan those in the line of sight of officers.
The facial-recognition cameras installed near the bounce houses at the Warehouse, an after-school recreation center in Bloomington, Indiana, are aimed low enough to scan the face of every parent, teenager and toddler who walks in. The center's director, David Weil, learned earlier this year of the surveillance system from a church newsletter, and within six weeks he had bought his own, believing it promised a security breakthrough that was both affordable and cutting-edge. Since last month, the system has logged thousands of visitors' faces – alongside their names, phone numbers and other personal details – and checked them against a regularly updated blacklist of sex offenders and unwanted guests. The system's Israeli developer, Face-Six, also promotes it for use in prisons and drones. "Some parents still think it's kind of '1984,' " said Weil, whose 21-month-old granddaughter is among the scanned.
Facebook has boosted its face recognition capabilities with the acquisition of startup FacioMetrics. FacioMetrics uses facial image analysis to determine emotions, and is aimed at sectors including gaming, healthcare, augmented reality and robotics. Fernando De la Torre, founder and CEO of FacioMetrics said the company was formed to cater for the increasing interest in and demand for facial image analysis, with applications including augmented/virtual reality, animation and audience reaction measurement. The technology comes out of research at Carnegie Mellon University into developing computer vision and machine learning algorithms for facial image analysis. "Over time, we have successfully developed and integrated this cutting-edge technology into battery-friendly and efficient mobile applications, and also created new applications of this technology," said De la Torre.
Over the past few months, high-profile incidents in the United Kingdom, one of the most surveilled societies in the world, forced people to consider how facial recognition will be used there. Brexit taking up most of the oxygen in the room hasn't made that debate any easier, but in conversations with VentureBeat, three experts from different backgrounds -- Ada Lovelace Institute director Carly Kind, the U.K.'s surveillance camera commissioner Tony Porter, and University of Essex professor Daragh Murray, who studies police use of facial recognition -- all agree that the U.K. needs to find a middle ground. All three agree that years of Brexit debate have stifled necessary reform, and that leaving the European Union could carry consequences for years to come as police and businesses continue experiments with facial recognition in the U.K. They also worry that an inability to take action could lead to calls for a ban or overregulation, or far more dystopian scenarios of facial recognition everywhere. The Terminator's got serious competition for symbolizing the fear of technology trampling human rights. Facial recognition has become a major issue around the globe due both to its deeply personal and pervasive nature as well as advances in AI that now make it work in real time.