The rail industry has come up with a plan that may as well be out of a science-fiction movie to cope with growing demand and overcrowding: charging rail passengers for journeys by fingerprint or iris scan. The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), the organisation representing train operators and Network Rail, claims biometric technology would enable fares to be automatically charged marking the start of an era that could radically accelerate commute times. The technology represents the next step from travellers being able to us smartphones' Bluetooth signals to open station barriers. That will be trialled on Chiltern Railways' route between London Marylebone and Oxford Parkway over the coming months. The use of digital signalling technology will also allow trains to operate closer together, cutting delay, according to the RDG.
While AFR tech has been trialled by a number of UK police forces, this appears to be the first time it has led to an arrest. South Wales Police didn't provide details about the nature of the arrest, presumably because it's an ongoing case. Back in April, it emerged that South Wales Police planned to scan the faces "of people at strategic locations in and around the city centre" ahead of the UEFA Champions League final, which was played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on June 3. On May 31, though, a man was arrested via AFR. "It was a local man and unconnected to the Champions League," a South Wales Police spokesperson told Ars.
Artificial intelligence software capable of interpreting images, matching faces and analysing patterns of communication is being piloted by UK police forces to speed up examination of mobile phones seized in crime investigations. Cellebrite, the Israeli-founded and now Japanese-owned company behind some of the software, claims a wider rollout would solve problems over failures to disclose crucial digital evidence that have led to the collapse of a series of rape trials and other prosecutions in the past year. However, the move by police has prompted concerns over privacy and the potential for software to introduce bias into processing of criminal evidence. As police and lawyers struggle to cope with the exponential rise in data volumes generated by phones and laptops in even routine crime cases, the hunt is on for a technological solution to handle increasingly unmanageable workloads. Some forces are understood to have backlogs of up to six months for examining downloaded mobile phone contents.
At the end of each summer for the last 14 years, the small Welsh town of Porthcawl has been invaded. Every year its 16,000 population is swamped by up to 35,000 Elvis fans. Many people attending the yearly festival look the same: they slick back their hair, throw on oversized sunglasses and don white flares. At 2017's Elvis festival, impersonators were faced with something different. Police were trialling automated facial recognition technology to track down criminals.
In one of the first lawsuits to address the use of live facial recognition technology by governments, a British court ruled on Wednesday that police use of the systems is acceptable and does not violate privacy and human rights. The case has been closely watched by law enforcement agencies, privacy groups and government officials because there is little legal precedent concerning the use of cameras in public spaces that scan people's faces in real time and attempt to identify them from photo databases of criminal suspects. While the technology has advanced quickly, with many companies building systems that can be used by police departments, laws and regulations have been slower to develop. The High Court dismissed the case brought by Ed Bridges, a resident of Cardiff, Wales, who said his rights were violated by the use of facial recognition by the South Wales Police. Mr. Bridges claimed that he had been recorded without permission on at least two occasions -- once while shopping and again while attending a political rally.