“Facial recognition applications should be provided to the police with an empty database”


AnyVision’s open letter outlines principles for the fair and ethical use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement in response to the UK government’s request for comment on the surveillance camera code of practice.

NEW YORK, September 08, 2021– (BUSINESS WIRE) – The UK government has approached the public for consultation on revisions to the Code of Practice for CCTV cameras. The code is part of the Law on the Protection of Freedoms which provides guidance on the appropriate use of video surveillance by local authorities and the police. This is the first revision of the code since its introduction in June 2013.

AnyVision responded to Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner Prof. Fraser Sampson in an open letter titled: “Facial recognition apps should be provided to police with an empty database. “

Given AnyVision’s ethical facial recognition expertise and business experience in identifying people of interest, including shoplifters, criminals and security threats, the company has wanted to bring his point of view to the discussion and share several good practices on the application of ethical facial recognition to law enforcement. .

AnyVision CEO Avi Golan wrote: “The ethical use of facial recognition is thorny and requires nuanced discussion. Part of this discussion should explain how the underlying facial recognition system works, but, just as importantly, the discussion should also involve how the technology is used by law enforcement agencies and what checks and balances are built into their processes. . We welcome an honest and objective dialogue involving all stakeholders to draft fair and balanced regulations. “

In recent years, facial and object recognition systems were widely adopted before due diligence methods were fully thought out. The company agrees that the use of facial recognition or other biometric recognition systems must be clearly justified and proportionate to achieve the intended objective and must be validated as appropriate.

First, it is important to highlight the unique characteristics and risk factors inherent in police use of facial recognition technology. The most common use case of CCTV is when police and other law enforcement agencies take a picture of a suspect at a crime scene and want to know, “Who is the person on the line?” Photo ? This often requires an extensive database – a database that could potentially include all humans on planet Earth.

This is very different from the commercial use cases of facial recognition (for example, in supermarkets, casinos or stadiums) which fundamentally ask a different question: “Is the person in the video a known security threat?” ? Answering this question does not require a complete database of all people, but rather a defined list of specific people who represent security threats.

In the company’s opinion, the path to a fair and ethical use of facial recognition by police services requires compliance with three principles:

  1. Empty database: We recommend building their watchlists from scratch based on known criminals, people of interest, and missing persons. Some providers of facial recognition solutions have scratched billions of photos and identities of people on social media, usually without their consent. Unfortunately, this method of facial recognition has rightly angered privacy groups and data protection agencies around the world and undermined public confidence in the accuracy and reliability of data. facial recognition systems. We believe that the lists of suspects should be limited and justified. In this way, unwarranted invasion of citizens’ privacy can be avoided, false arrests can be reduced, and public confidence in technology can be enhanced.

  2. Data protection and confidentiality: Many privacy advocates are rightly concerned about how CCTV systems capture and store the data of innocent bystanders. At AnyVision, we do not capture photographic images of people. Watchlists which include benchmark data for our facial recognition algorithms are created and uploaded by our business customers i.e. created from scratch and specific to the security needs of that organization . The data we capture is rendered using mathematical vectors that act like secure cryptography, preventing identity hacking even if the data is stolen.

    AnyVision goes one step further in protecting the privacy of those not on the watchlist. We offer our clients the option of enabling “GDPR mode” which effectively blurs all the faces of people who are not explicitly on an organization’s watchlist. When this feature is enabled, only those identified on the watchlist are visible – all other people in the camera’s field of view are blurred. The confidentiality mode goes even further because it rejects all detections of unregistered individuals. This means law enforcement cannot capture metadata from off-watchlist detections, further protecting the identity of passers-by. These advanced privacy features are designed to help organizations capture and collect data about individuals that is strictly necessary for the purposes of video surveillance (i.e. data minimization).

  3. Lack of operational due diligence: Police admit facial recognition technology has helped solve some difficult cases, but over the past year there have also been allegations of wrongful arrests. In many of these cases, the wrongful arrests were the result of a poor process of investigating deficiencies in facial recognition software. Facial recognition is more than just technology – it’s about having specific rules that help the software understand how to handle potential matches based on faces. These rules must operate within established boundaries that protect an individual’s privacy and comply with compliance law.

    Facial recognition software is designed to identify a handful of probable suspects based on potential matches with a referral database. However, a potential match does not mean that the police department is absolved from conducting a proper investigation. It is essential that police use technology responsibly and determine whether any of the potential matches should be investigated further based on appropriate due diligence procedures and following established protocols. When the police take shortcuts and falsely arrest innocent people on the basis of a supposed match without due diligence, it reflects badly on the underlying facial recognition technology. It is imperative to stress the importance of human examination and investigation when applying this powerful technology.

“AnyVision is willing to share industry knowledge and best practices from our extensive research experience with major global players including branded retailers, global hospitality, financial services and enforcement agencies. the law, ”said AnyVision CEO Avi Golan. “If the regulations set out in the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice adhere to the principles outlined above, then law enforcement agencies can strike the right balance between solving the crime and protecting the privacy of individuals. innocent citizens. “

To learn more about AnyVision’s visual AI solutions, visit www.anyvision.co.

About AnyVision

AnyVision is a leading visual AI platform company that organizations around the world use to create trusted and transparent experiences in their physical spaces. Proven to perform with the highest precision in real-time and real-world scenarios, AnyVision harnesses its cutting-edge research and powerful technology platform to make the world a safer, more intuitive, and more connected place. For more information, please visit www.anyvision.co.

See the source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210907005816/en/


Dean Nicolls
Marketing director
[email protected]


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