Georgia To Roll Out Tens Of Thousands Of CCTV Cameras With Real-Time Facial Recognition Capabilities

from the are-you-a-sheep-or-a-goat? dept

Surveillance using CCTV cameras is old hat these days, even for locations outside the world's CCTV capital, London. But there's an important step-change taking place in the sector, as operators move from simply observing and recording, to analyzing video feeds automatically using facial recognition software. Techdirt has written about this area a few times, but these examples have all been fairly small-scale and exploratory. News from Georgia -- the one in the Caucasus, not the State -- shows that things are moving fast in this field:

NEC Corporation today announced that it has provided an advanced surveillance system for cities utilizing facial recognition to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, in cooperation with Capital Systems LLC, a leading system developer. The system began operation in June of this year, and works in combination with 400 CCTV surveillance cameras installed in Georgia's major cities, including the capital, Tbilisi.

The system utilizes NeoFace Watch, NEC's real-time facial recognition software for video, featuring the world's highest recognition precision. It checks images captured by CCTV cameras against pictures of suspects and others registered in a watch list, making it possible to identify figures rapidly and accurately.

This system was introduced as part of Georgia's "Safe City, Safe Region, Safe Country" program aiming to improve public safety. Georgia also plans to install tens of thousands of additional cameras nationwide in the future.

It's not clear whether those tens of thousands of CCTV systems will all be equipped with real-time facial recognition, or only some of them. But even the immediate roll out of facial recognition to 400 CCTV cameras is substantial, especially for a country with fewer than four million inhabitants. It's hard not to see this as a test-bed for other, much bigger countries, which will doubtless be watching Georgia's experience with interest. Some have already started their own trials: ZDNet reports that at least two of Australia's police forces -- the Northern Territory Police and South Australia Police -- have 100s of CCTV cameras with real-time facial recognition features. There's also a small-scale trial employing vehicle-mounted cameras with similar capabilities being conducted by UK police in Wales. All of the examples mentioned here use the NeoFace Watch system from NEC, which the company claims is able to process multiple camera feeds, and to extract and match thousands of faces per minute.

NEC also emphasizes that its product is "suitable for the detection of both undesirables and VIPs." That's an important point. CCTV systems are currently fairly egalitarian, spying on and recording everyone equally. But the addition of facial recognition allows a crowd's sheep and goats to be distinguished, and then dealt with appropriately. While beefy security guards preemptively -- and discreetly -- remove the "undesirables" who might lower the tone of a venue, exquisite hospitality experts can meet and greet the VIPs as they approach. One of the unexpected results of adding facial recognition to CCTV is that it brings out the "servile" in "surveillance".

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  • identicon
    Daydream, 4 Aug 2017 @ 4:48am

    I'm disturbed and uncomfortable with the notion of treating other people as 'undesirables'.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2017 @ 6:51am

      Re:

      Why?

      Are murderers desirable to you?
      How about pedo's, are they desirable?

      Yes I know that the real aim is to build everything into a single class ripe for abuse by also calling someone that uses foul language as also being 'undesirable' but this is what people are asking for.

      People ask and want their governments to remove their liberty for safety and security. It is just how humans are. Yes they whine about the loss of liberty but like this one guy once said.


      “Safety from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct. Even the ardent love of liberty will, after a time, give way to its dictates. The violent destruction of life and property incident to war, the continual effort and alarm attendant on a state of continual danger, will compel nations the most attached to liberty to resort for repose and security to institutions which have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights. To be more safe, they at length become willing to run the risk of being less free.”

      (Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers, No. 8.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 4 Aug 2017 @ 7:41am

        Re: Re:

        I think he is talking in general terms. Like blacks being treated as undesirable in the past (still are but at least it's not codified into law). But your comment is pretty good as well.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2017 @ 9:08am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "I think he is talking in general terms."

          Yes, but what I am saying is that the desire for protection and giving up liberties we ask for is what created that problem for the general people.

          Sometimes you have to walk it forward so people can see how it ties back.

          I used murders and pedo's as an example because people do not like to defend their rights. Which establishes a precedent where government can easily begin to erode liberty and directly gather more power.

          I hope you are understanding my aim here.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 4 Aug 2017 @ 5:11pm

            murderers and pedos

            And yet you're already generalizing.

            There's pedophiles who like other chronophiles, are attracted to people not their age.

            And then there are those guilty of child sexual assault, who have committed a crime.

            If murderers are undesirable, are those who think about murder also undesirable? Are Agatha Christie enthusiasts undesirable?

            It's very easy to slip towards premature prosecution.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2017 @ 7:55am

        Re: Re:

        Are murderers desirable to you?

        How about pedo's, are they desirable?

        You left out libs and dems!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          JoeCool (profile), 4 Aug 2017 @ 10:01am

          Re: Re: Re:

          From a famous movie: All right... we'll give some land to the niggers and the chinks. But we don't want the Irish!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Wendy Cockcroft, 7 Aug 2017 @ 2:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Irish woman here; LOL @ Blazing Saddles reference.

            Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2017 @ 7:55am is correct about this: the partisan divide in America is becoming so acute that libs and dems are already considered undesirable in some places — and vice versa.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 4 Aug 2017 @ 5:47am

    False Positives

    I suspect they haven't solved the false-positives problem yet, that a lot of people just look alike, and it's going to take a high resolution of discernment to tell them apart.

    Are we going to sweep away people who happen to look like undesirables?

    So far our law enforcement officers have been eager to use false positives as an excuse to harrass the innocent. False positives from computer algorithms doubly so.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2017 @ 7:59am

      Re: False Positives

      You can't be too careful. Better shoot first and ask questions later.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2017 @ 8:30am

        Re: Re: False Positives

        Shouldn't that be shoot first and then take the persons life apart to find a justification for killing them.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2017 @ 8:51pm

          Re: Re: Re: False Positives

          That's where we are currently. The ultimate goal is:
          Shoot first for any / no reason and then kill / jail anyone else who objects with impunity.

          Sadly, most people can't realize that, and fall for the "you only get rights if you are Politically Correct" BS.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2017 @ 9:25am

        Re: Re: False Positives

        They already do this. Don't need the Camera's for that.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Cowardly Lion, 4 Aug 2017 @ 9:59am

      Re: False Positives

      *"...that a lot of people just look alike"*

      Sucks if you have an evil twin.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2017 @ 5:51am

    Let's implement facial recognition, it has to be more reliable than roadside drug testing - right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 4 Aug 2017 @ 6:07am

    Trying to imagine how Georgia can afford or justify or actually operate tens of thousands of cameras. With or without FR. What sort of person thinks this is a good idea at all?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Annonymouse, 4 Aug 2017 @ 6:08am

    So will law enforcement be recognized as undesirables VIPs or be automatically blurred similar to Google Street view.

    Hmm makes you wonder how soon it will be before laughing Man will show up on these monitoring systems?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2017 @ 6:47am

    Georgia needs to get a new name

    The state of Georgia claims right by might and forces the country of Georgia to change its confusing name. The Georgian national guard could enforce this if needed over the weekend.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Aaron Walkhouse (profile), 4 Aug 2017 @ 7:42am

      სამწუხაროდ, საქართველოს ჰქონდა სახელი, რომელიც ადრე არსებობდა. ‌ ;]

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      ryuugami, 4 Aug 2017 @ 8:37am

      Re: Georgia needs to get a new name

      How about using the surname instead of the first name and go with Orwellia? "Georgia" is a bit subtle.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 4 Aug 2017 @ 7:06am

    I say get all the bigoted VIPs willing to get separated from the peasants (don't forget surveillance happy politicians pelase!) and people afraid of everything and terrorism and take them to a fully surveilled, terror free planet. Seriously. It'll make this world better overall.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Aaron Walkhouse (profile), 4 Aug 2017 @ 7:48am

      I wonder…

      …how long it will take for the VIPs to realize they are
      under the heaviest surveillance, and that in a surveillance
      state they can be picked off at the whim of whoever is in
      power the moment they become his or her political rivals? ‌ ;]

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 4 Aug 2017 @ 8:22am

      Re:

      Wouldn't it be in the VIP's best interest to be sequestered? I am thinking a super-max prison, though I hear the food isn't as good as what VIP's are used to.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JoeCool (profile), 4 Aug 2017 @ 9:56am

    New Parable

    I guess you CAN judge a book by its cover, now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 4 Aug 2017 @ 10:22am

    aND THE JOBS IN THIS COUNTRY??

    Where are all the jobs going??
    Insted of paying 1000 Men to monitor a Citizenship..
    You get 4 Guys watching cameras..
    Waiting for the compter to POP UP and tell you IT FOUND SOMEONE..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2017 @ 6:08pm

      Re: aND THE JOBS IN THIS COUNTRY??

      Until they upgrade the computer and a guy with bird last names seems to be its best human friend.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2017 @ 10:46am

    I have to wounder how well they work if someone is wearing a dust mask and glasses. I think the rollout and worldwide acceptance of these systems will accelerate the use of "medically necessary" dust masks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 4 Aug 2017 @ 4:08pm

    Coming soon: A law to criminalize covering your face in public.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2017 @ 4:54pm

      Re:

      well, and you'll have to apply for permission to grow a mustache and will receive instructions on color and length. haircuts will be regular and performed by licensed practitioners, much like getting your car inspected. if the lady handling your app thinks you'd be cute with bangs, you'll have bangs. or else.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    CCTV Seymour, 6 Sep 2017 @ 2:06am

    This is great. I like how technology is developing into becoming something that's actually useful for safety.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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