See without being seen. With the expansion (both in time and place) of the terrorist threat in Europe, ensuring safety in public places has become a priority for local and national authorities. Railway stations, airports, sports venues… many places have become potential targets and adopted surveillance technologies. Facial recognition borders science fiction.
Algorithm identifies Welsh fugitive
Cardiff, Wales, last May. During the final game of the Champions League, a man wanted by the police is questioned at the entrance of the Millenium Stadium. His face, filmed by a camera perched on top of a police car, was recognised by a facial recognition system produced by Japanese company NEC.
In real time, NEC’s algorithm compared people caught on film to a database of 500,000 “suspects” whose biometric parameters had been recorded while in police custody in the UK.
According to a public tender by the Welsh police, the arrest was realised as part of a pilot project started last April and running for two years. The cost of the software: about €200,000. A similar project had been running in London, in the Notting Hill festival, but led to zero arrests.