Brazilian Police To Use Facial Recognition Glasses To Spot Criminals... But Does It Even Work?

from the ah,-details dept

Apparently Brazilian police are investing in a system of Robocop-style glasses that will allow the police to scan crowds of people with the glasses, and have a small camera spot known criminals. That's the theory. What's surprising to me is that no one in the article seems to question whether or not this technology actually works. We've been hearing a lot about facial recognition technology over the years, especially for situations like this. Yet, every time we hear about tests of public camera systems with facial recognition, it later turns out that they're close to useless. Multiple places that have installed such cameras later took them down after they failed to (legitimately) spot any criminals. Now, many of those stories are a few years old, and the technology has improved... but until there's actual evidence that a system like this can actually work (especially in a miniaturized glasses setup), it seems that skepticism should rule the day.


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    scarr (profile), Apr 20th, 2011 @ 11:24pm

    Anecdotal evidence

    If iPhoto is any indicator, it has access to high-res images, and lots of processing power to look at them, without a real-time requirement

    ...and it identified the side of a building as one of my friends.

     

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    molecule (profile), Apr 20th, 2011 @ 11:35pm

    so many people to spot, there's just... brazillians and brazillians...

     

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    Dwayne, Apr 20th, 2011 @ 11:47pm

    Lock them all up

    The glasses are merely an excuse to treat everyone as a criminal. The reasoning behind all arrests in Brazil will now be, "He's a criminal because the glasses recognised him as one"

    Why don't they just learn from the United States and treat everyone as criminals without the use of expensive glasses?

     

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    Stereoscopic Cow, Apr 21st, 2011 @ 12:20am

    Yep got two of them!

    I got two of them high resolution stereoscopic cameras for real time 3D!

    They're called EYES, use them knuckle head.

     

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      Christopher (profile), Apr 21st, 2011 @ 12:32am

      Re: Yep got two of them!

      Cops cannot know every criminal by sight, they are not machines. I could see this being useful IF they were looking for one specific person and had info that he was in the area.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2011 @ 6:46am

        Re: Re: Yep got two of them!

        Its too bad these systems are defeated by hats or badges with LEDs in them. Google "DefCon facial recognition".

         

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        Richard (profile), Apr 21st, 2011 @ 8:23am

        Re: Re: Yep got two of them!

        s. I could see this being useful IF they were looking for one specific person and had info that he was in the area.

        Then again you could just send the cop a picture ....

        Seriously - all this demonstrstes is that those in authority tend to be suckers for a technology (snake oil) salesman.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2011 @ 4:35am

      Re: Yep got two of them!

      Our eyes are useful but pretty pathetic.

      We can't quickly adjust to quick changes in light and our vision's resolution is pretty poor. Also, we can only track one target at the time.

      But, worst of all, we can fall prey to simple optical illusions (http://web.mit.edu/persci/gaz/gaz-teaching/index.html).

       

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        abc gum, Apr 21st, 2011 @ 6:13am

        Re: Re: Yep got two of them!

        "But, worst of all, we can fall prey to simple optical illusions"

        Also known as Marketing

         

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        Richard (profile), Apr 21st, 2011 @ 8:26am

        Re: Re: Yep got two of them!

        and - electronic systems are , of course, immune from errors -

        No the problem with tech solutions is that they throw up errors that are incomprehensible to those who operate the equipment - therefore they tend to carry on regardless ("computer says no"). We need to stick to good old fashion systems until the low level operatives are sufficiently educated to understand the equipment they operate.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2011 @ 11:11am

        Re: Re: Yep got two of them!

        But, worst of all, we can fall prey to simple optical illusions


        So do the machines.

         

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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Apr 21st, 2011 @ 2:47am

    Maybe the criminals will get ahold of a few pairs

    Presumably they'll be hacked to match Bender's "threat recognition" system (i.e., identifying "rubes" and such).

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_H3uQvpZPI9A/ShsGeruDT5I/AAAAAAAACcE/5PcRZ7NjJFM/s400/terminator+bender .jpg

     

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    Ryan Diederich, Apr 21st, 2011 @ 5:23am

    Not long now....

    ...until the government can track your every move.

    If you go to your local grocer, their security cameras will report to the govt your location.

    Actually, this doesnt bother me too much, as I am not, nor do I plan to be a criminal.

    But knowing where EVERYONE of interest is could be useful.

     

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      abc gum, Apr 21st, 2011 @ 6:16am

      Re: Not long now....

      "Actually, this doesnt bother me too much, as I am not, nor do I plan to be a criminal."

      You may not be a criminal in your everyday activities yet .....

       

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    ComputerAddict (profile), Apr 21st, 2011 @ 5:30am

    I can see this working,

    All you need is a super high definition 3D laser scan of the person before you start looking... Wait our criminal doesn't have a high definition 3D laser scan of his face... Damn! (Throws expensive glasses on the ground and steps on them)

     

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    abc gum, Apr 21st, 2011 @ 5:34am

    More useless expensive tech sold to an emporer with no clothes. Is this perhaps the same company that makes the airport pornoscanners?

     

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      Chosen Reject (profile), Apr 21st, 2011 @ 8:46am

      Re:

      I don't know if its the same company, but it will certainly be treated the same. That is, the glasses will be initially used to catch known criminals. It will certainly fail, but the false positives will still be searched. Some of those false positives will be found guilty of some crime (I don't know what Brazil's drug laws are, but drug laws are what would be handy in the US), and thus the glasses will be hailed as a success.

      That's what the TSA does all the time. Sure, they haven't caught a terrorist yet (nor could they) but they've found illegal stuff (mostly drugs) so they claim they are completely successful.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2011 @ 11:26am

    One of the big problems with facial recognition is cultural. This applies to both human and machine.
    People from different cultures are trained to recognize faces in different ways. Europeans identify and describe people using colors: blond hair, blue eyes. They also use some facial shapes: square chin, full lips.
    Completely worthless in Asia. An Asian would describe a person using length of eyes, jawbone structure, etc. Africans use other indicators.
    Color differentiations are meaningless, and therefore not culturaly learned.

    Facial recognition relies on matching points on a face with a known face, including shape. A facial recognition in one country may be completely worthless in another.

    Human misidentification is one of the main causes of innocent people being convicted.

    To catch and convict criminals, there is only one universal rule to count on:

    No amount of money, training nor technology will ever take the place of the stupidity of the criminal.

     

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    Ralphoo (profile), Apr 21st, 2011 @ 3:07pm

    Dwayne nailed it

    "The glasses are merely an excuse to treat everyone as a criminal. The reasoning behind all arrests in Brazil will now be, "He's a criminal because the glasses recognised him as one"
    ----------
    Dwayne, your comment is the one that makes the most sense here. Unfortunately, we can't tolerate that kind of uncontrolled intelligence. You are under arrest.

    The charge? Being recognized by my special glasses, of course.

     

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    Josie B. Siler, Apr 2nd, 2013 @ 11:21pm

    very nice

    If they can create that device then I think it will make their investigation easier. I just hope that there will be no flaws.

     

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