Wolfcom Decides It Wants To Be The First US Body Cam Company To Add Facial Recognition Tech To Its Products

from the taking-one-for-the-surveillance-team dept

Axon says it won't do it. Ring, less believably, says it won't do it. Some federal agencies want everyone to do it. But here's an actual tech company willing to do it: toss facial recognition tech into its cameras.

Wolfcom, a company that makes technology for police, is pitching body cameras with live facial recognition to law enforcement groups across the United States, OneZero has learned.

[...]

Wolfcom claims to have sold body cameras to at least 1,500 police departments, universities, and federal organizations across the country. It has been developing live facial recognition for the Halo, Wolfcom’s newest body camera model, according to documents and a video obtained by OneZero through public records requests.

Opposition to facial recognition tech appears to be increasing. But Wolfcom knows its market and its purchasers -- law enforcement agencies -- aren't among those demanding moratoriums or outright bans of the tech's use in law enforcement equipment. Wolfcom would be the first company to blend body cameras and facial recognition AI, moving it ahead of all the other companies that have only discussed it.

Right now, the AI isn't actually live. The marketing video suggests it is but those testing it -- including a few law enforcement agencies -- are currently limited to uploading photos from body cameras for the company to match against its database. Or whoever's databases. It's not entirely clear what Wolfcom is using to match faces to names.

“Let’s say a police officer in Arizona two months ago had taken a photo of this guy. It would recognize that and then tell our officer, ‘Hey, you know what? This guy was in Arizona for maybe battery against a police officer,’” Lieutenant Jose Hernandez, of the Los Lunas Police Department, told OneZero. However, it’s not clear which databases the Wolfcom software would be searching or whether it would be able to access information from multiple police departments.

Everyone loves a surveillance tech company with an air of mystery about it. About the only thing Wolfcom is doing right is not promising sky high accuracy rate for its unproven product when pitching it to government agencies. That's the end of the "good" list. Agencies who have been asked to beta test the "live" facial recognition AI are being given free passes to use the software in the future, when (or if) it actually goes live.

Right now, Wolfcom's offering bears some resemblance to Clearview's: an app-based search function that taps into whatever databases the company has access to. Except in this case, even less is known about the databases Wolfcom uses or if it's using its own algorithm or simply licensing one from another purveyor.

None of these unanswered questions are preventing Wolfcom from pitching "live" facial recognition to its law enforcement user base. If it can find a way to tie this in, it will become the industry leader. And that's not necessarily a good thing, now that legislators are beginning to question the negative side effects of this technology.

Filed Under: body cameras, facial recognition, police
Companies: wolfcom


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2020 @ 7:08am

    I'm not entirely sure what the term Facial Recognition entails and I suspect that each implementation will be different, so I am at a loss as to what they mean by add facial recognition to something.

    I suspect that the camera sensor, lens, storage will require upgrade from what is presently standard issue police body cam. In addition, I wonder how they intend to perform the image search, is it local or remote? Either way there are huge problems that I doubt have been overcome. If local, the cam will need huge memory and periodic updates while if remote the cam will need huge bandwidth ... is this why they want 5G?

    Also ... it does not work.

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

  2. identicon
    Pixelation, 10 Mar 2020 @ 8:23am

    Waiting

    I'm waiting for the story of the first person misidentified and shot.

    Will the company supplying the tech be held responsible?

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

  3. icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 10 Mar 2020 @ 8:51am

    Re: Waiting

    I am going to bet that 1) there will be a non-disclosure agreement that prevents anyone from telling anyone that their system exists, let alone gets used, and 2) there will be a black box component to the system that cannot be violated due to state...um...industrial secrets, which will prevent anyone from placing blame anywhere...other than the person killed (they must have deserved it, even if it was the wrong person). For the above reasons the blame will be placed on no-one, and Mr. No-one will have left the jurisdiction to a country without an extradition agreement with anyone.

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

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2020 @ 10:36am

    Nothing to hide, nothing to fear.

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

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2020 @ 10:36am

    Re: Waiting

    Not under Section 230. Blame the shooter, not the bodycam.

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2020 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Re: Waiting

    Which is why this tech should be banned outright. It's not going to be used for the betterment of the public.

    Leave it to an untapped market to create a dystopian hellhole on earth, for nothing more than profits.

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

  7. icon
    ECA (profile), 10 Mar 2020 @ 3:17pm

    There are ways..

    to make, create this to work very well.
    But 90% is the amounts of DATA required and the Time to access it remotely....
    But it should all start with taking BETTER PICTURES FOR DMV/DOT. And hope other agencies wont use them(DONT BET ON IT).

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2020 @ 3:40pm

    Re: Waiting

    With the coronavirus hovering over mankind now, suddenly being tested and having the results entered into a database along with facial identity scans, its not to hard to see that facial recognition is here to stay.

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

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2020 @ 3:47pm

    Re: There are ways..

    I hate my photo on my driver's license and passport. Is there some way to introduce updated editing so People can get authorized makeovers on these IDs?

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

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2020 @ 3:56pm

    Re: Re: Waiting

    There are those criminal minds that Law Enforcement must clearly be readying themselves for that will use this disease as a way to inflict it upon others. I would think you will see a different approach to the way the government personnel interact with the public now.

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

  11. identicon
    Dave P., 11 Mar 2020 @ 11:24am

    Ban it!

    An invention of the devil. Should have been strangled at birth!

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.