Biometric Optical Surveillance System
The federal government is making progress on developing a surveillance system that would pair computers with video cameras to scan crowds and automatically identify people by their faces, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with researchers working on the project.
The Department of Homeland Security tested a crowd-scanning project called the Biometric Optical Surveillance System — or BOSS — last fall after two years of government-financed development. Although the system is not ready for use, researchers say they are making significant advances. That alarms privacy advocates, who say that now is the time for the government to establish oversight rules and limits on how it will someday be used.
There have been stabs for over a decade at building a system that would help match faces in a crowd with names on a watch list — whether in searching for terrorism suspects at high-profile events like a presidential inaugural parade, looking for criminal fugitives in places like Times Square or identifying card cheats in crowded casinos.
The automated matching of close-up photographs has improved greatly in recent years, and companies like Facebook have experimented with it using still pictures.
But even with advances in computer power, the technical hurdles involving crowd scans from a distance have proved to be far more challenging. Despite occasional much-hyped tests, including one as far back as the 2001 Super Bowl, technical specialists say crowd scanning is still too slow and unreliable.
The release of the documents about the government’s efforts to overcome those challenges comes amid a surge of interest in surveillance matters inspired by the leaks by Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor. Interest in video surveillance was also fueled by the attack on the Boston Marathon, where suspects were identified by officials looking through camera footage.
In a sign of how the use of such technologies can be developed for one use but then expanded to another, the BOSS research began as an effort to help the military detect potential suicide bombers and other terrorists overseas at “outdoor polling places in Afghanistan and Iraq,” among other sites, the documents show. But in 2010, the effort was transferred to the Department of Homeland Security to be developed for use instead by the police in the United States.
The Latest on: Facial Recognition
- The DHS Will Use Facial Recognition on 97 Percent of Departing Airport Passengers in the Next 4 Years on April 18, 2019 at 10:52 am
Privacy concerns? Civil liberty questions? Sure, those issues are very important. But they're not stopping facial recognition technology - and the companies making it - from going mainstream. The ... […]
- Facial recognition may help you get on a plane or cruise ship faster. Should you worry about your privacy? on April 18, 2019 at 9:26 am
Login or register now to gain instant access to the rest of this premium content! Say goodbye to standing in long lines clutching boarding passes and other travel documents. Step this way, instead. ... […]
- Facial Recognition To Be Used On 97% Of Departing Passengers In Four Years on April 18, 2019 at 9:04 am
The Department of Homeland Security estimates that it will use facial recognition technology on 97 percent of departing passengers within the next four years. The system photographs passengers before ... […]
- US facial recognition will cover 97 percent of departing airline passengers within four years on April 18, 2019 at 2:55 am
The Department of Homeland Security says it expects to use facial recognition technology on 97 percent of departing passengers within the next four years. The system, which involves photographing ... […]
- Facial recognition is almost perfectly accurate — here's why that could be a problem on April 17, 2019 at 2:04 pm
Michelle Yan: How does my iPhone know that's me? And how does Facebook know that's me? And why is Facebook always asking if I want to tag myself in these photos? Well, both are using facial ... […]
- Microsoft Rejects Police Request for Its Facial-Recognition Tech on April 17, 2019 at 12:41 pm
Microsoft's worries over facial-recognition technologies has reportedly led the company to reject a request by California law enforcement to use its system in police cars and body cameras. Microsoft's ... […]
- Where Microsoft draws the line on selling facial recognition tech to government agencies on April 17, 2019 at 12:31 pm
Microsoft executives Brad Smith, Satya Nadella and Amy Hood take questions from shareholders. (GeekWire Photo / Nat Levy) Microsoft is being selective about the government agencies that can buy the ... […]
- Microsoft refused to sell facial recognition tech to law enforcement on April 17, 2019 at 9:32 am
The company leading the charge on protecting civil rights from technological abuse is... Microsoft?! Microsoft President Brad Smith delivered some surprisingly principled news about his company ... […]
- Subaru Outback revamped for 2020, with facial recognition, revealed at New York Auto Show on April 17, 2019 at 9:30 am
NEW YORK – Subaru is hoping to maintain its American hot streak with a redesigned version of the Outback, the company's 2018 U.S. best seller. The 2020 Subaru Outback made its global debut Wednesday ... […]
- Microsoft took an ethical stand on facial recognition just days after being blasted for a sinister AI project in China on April 17, 2019 at 3:50 am
Microsoft President Brad Smith announced on Tuesday that the company refused a request from a US police department to install its facial recognition software, citing human rights concerns, Reuters ... […]
via Google News and Bing News