The Facial Recognition to The Police Service: between Security and Privacy

At Engadget have talked several times about the algorithms of facial recognition and its effectiveness to identify subjects using photographs. For certain services such as social networks it is useful to save time labeling people, but some are considering bringing This technology beyond and one of his ways passes to create a tool that will help to identify suspects.

Police in Calgary, in Canada, has begun to use a facial recognition software developed by NEC that is able to take pictures and video for tracking faces and compare them with a database of 300,000 fichadas by the police. The truth is that this technology is not new, but its implementation serves to resume a debate that takes time on the table: the privacy of users in public spaces.

Identifying suspects in seconds

Long security cameras are used in streets and squares of cities around the world with the aim of identifying threats that threaten citizens. Its implementation has been controversial and critics making Parallels with Orwellian dystopias are the best proof of this. Despite its prevention function, It’s not something accepted unanimously.

The next step was to use facial recognition systems to in a matter of seconds to link anonymous faces for those who police have reported as suspects, people with a history, etc. Its use will not be indiscriminate and not you sign to everyone that passes through a concrete. So say the representatives of the security forces in the countries where we have implemented.

Use priori help identify criminals more quickly and effectively. Is it really him? There is a study that shows that. By analyzing a database of 1.6 million people registered by the police, in 95% of cases was successful the ID using this software. In the case of the technology developed by NEC, surprising percentage of effectiveness that has: 200 tests in United Kingdom only was able to succeed in 45% of cases.

However, there are voices that disagree regarding the use of this system and not only believe that the efficiency is lower (85%) also argue that fingerprint detection systems are more effective and that, obviously, less compromise the privacy of individuals travelling in a public space.

Is it legal to do this facial recognition? It depends on the legislation of each country but in the United States (where has been the implementation of a more intense next United Kingdom) the NSA says that is completely lawful. The debate is long and in the end will be Governments decide that it has more weight: the privacy of people or the safety of these.