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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Comments on “Brazilian Police To Use Facial Recognition Glasses To Spot Criminals… But Does It Even Work?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

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 (

Richard (profile) says:

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.

Ryan Diederich says:

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.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Ralphoo (profile) says:

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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