AnyVision comments on UK biometrics

AnyVision comments on UK biometrics

The British government has approached the public to consult on revisions to the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice. The code is part of the Protection of Freedoms Act which provides guidance on the appropriate use of CCTV by local authorities and the police. This is the first revision to the code since its introduction in June 2013.

AnyVision has responded to the Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Professor Fraser Sampson in an open letter entitled: “Facial Recognition Apps Should Be Provided to the Police with an Empty Database.”

Given AnyVision’s expertise in ethical facial recognition and commercial experience identifying persons of interest, including shoplifters, felons, and security threats, the company wanted to lend its perspective to the discussion and share several best practices on the application of ethical facial recognition to law enforcement settings.

AnyVision’s CEO Avi Golan wrote: “The ethical use of facial recognition is a thorny one and requires a nuanced discussion. Part of that discussion must explain how the underlying facial recognition system works, but, just as important, the discussion must also involve how the technology is being used by police departments 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 regulation.”

In recent years, face-based and object recognition systems have been adopted broadly before methods of due diligence have been fully thought through. The company agrees that the use of facial recognition or other biometric-based recognition systems need to be clearly justified and proportionate in meeting the intended purpose and should be appropriately validated.

First, it is important to highlight the unique characteristics and risk factors specific to police use of facial recognition technology. The most common use case for video surveillance is when police and other law enforcement agencies get a picture of a suspect from a crime scene and want to find out: “Who is the person in the picture?” That often requires an extensive database — one that could potentially include every human on planet earth.

This is very different from commercial use cases of facial recognition (e.g., within supermarkets, casinos, or stadiums) which are fundamentally asking a different question: “Is the person in the video a known security threat?” To answer this question doesn’t require a comprehensive database of all people, but rather a defined list of specific people who represent security threats.

In the company’s view, the path to fair and ethical use of facial recognition by police agencies is through adherence to three principles:

  1. Empty Database: We recommend building their watchlists from the ground up based on known felons, persons of interest, and missing persons. Some facial recognition solution providers have scraped billions of photos and identities of people from social networks, usually without their consent. Unfortunately, this method of facial recognition has justifiably angered privacy groups and data protection agencies around the globe and damaged public trust in the accuracy and reliability of facial recognition systems. We believe that lists of suspects should be limited and justified. In this way, unjustified invasion of citizens’ privacy can be prevented, false arrests can be reduced and public confidence in the technology can be increased.
  2. Safeguarding Data & Privacy: Many privacy advocates are justifiably concerned about how video surveillance systems capture and store data of innocent bystanders. At AnyVision, we don’t capture photographic images of people. The watchlists that comprise the reference data for our facial recognition algorithms are created and uploaded by our commercial customers – that is, they are created from scratch and specific to the security needs of that organization. The data that we capture is rendered using mathematical vectors that act as secure cryptography, preventing identity hacking even if data is stolen.

    AnyVision goes a step further in safeguarding the privacy of non-watchlist individuals. We offer our customers the ability to activate “GDPR-mode” which effectively blurs all faces of people not explicitly listed on an organization’s watchlist. When this feature is activated, only individuals identified on the watchlist are visible — all other people in the camera’s field of view are blurred. Privacy Mode goes even further as it discards all detections of non-enrolled individuals. This means that police agencies cannot capture any metadata from non-watchlist detections which further protects the identities of bystanders. These advanced privacy features are designed to help organizations capture and collect data on individuals that is strictly necessary for the purposes of video surveillance (i.e., data minimization).

  3. Lack of Operational Due Diligence: Police admit that facial recognition technology has been instrumental in helping crack some tough cases, but in the last year, there have also been claims of wrongful arrests. In many of these cases, the wrongful arrests were the result of a poor investigative process vs. shortcomings of the facial recognition software. Facial recognition is more than just the technology — it’s about having specific rules that helps the software understand how to process potential face-based matches. These rules must operate within established boundaries that protect an individual’s privacy and conform to compliance law.

    Facial recognition software is designed to identify a handful of likely suspects based on potential matches to a reference database. However, a potential match does not mean that the police department is absolved from performing a proper investigation. It’s critical that the police use the 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 police take shortcuts and wrongfully arrest innocent people based on a supposed match without the necessary due diligence, it reflects poorly on the underlying facial recognition technology. It’s imperative to highlight the importance of human review and investigation when applying this powerful technology.

“AnyVision is willing to share its industry insights and best practices from our vast research experience with leading global players, including name-brand retailers, global hospitality, financial services and law enforcement agencies,” said AnyVision’s CEO, Avi Golan. “If the regulations set forth by the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice are committed to the principles outlined above, then law enforcement agencies can strike the right balance between solving crime and protecting the privacy of innocent citizens.”

Nedap adds face-based biometrics

Nedap adds face-based biometrics

AnyVision, a world-leading Recognition AI company today announced its strategic partnership with Nedap Security. AnyVision’s touchless access control functionality is now integrated with Nedap’s AEOS Access Control solution — an access control platform designed to protect facilities, make people feel safe and safeguard valuable assets.

With AEOS, Nedap controls access to any physical location that needs to stay secure – from businesses to government offices, hospitals, airports, schools, industrial sites and public venues. AEOS offers a web-based application that’s tailored to an organization’s specific security needs. With AEOS, organizations can control who has access where, when and under what conditions, only allowing access once someone has been identified and verified.

AnyVision’s touchless access control technology provides a biometric-based option to Nedap’s AEOS platform. AnyVision’s technology offers a number of benefits to Nedap’s customers, including:

  • Superior Security: Biometric-based access control systems offer a superior security level than different access control systems such as passwords, fobs or cards because biometric readers identify individuals with a high level of assurance. AnyVision’s liveness detection technology also ensures that every detected face is a real person by identifying spatial inconsistency and using an array of sensors that create a 3D face map to flag spoofing attempts.
  • Biometrics Cannot be Lost or Stolen: Cards and fobs can be lost or stolen whereas biometric-based solutions rely on the physical, unique characteristics of each user.
  • Granular Permissioning: Create enforceable, digital barriers without erecting permanent structures and get instant alerts when unauthorized people are identified as well as recording their date and time of access. This audit trail is helpful in the event of an actual security event or breach.
  • Touchless User Experience: With biometrics, the person becomes the credential as the physical access control system relies upon facial recognition technology to determine whether a person should be permitted to enter a facility without having to touch a device or pad.

“Relying on cards, passwords, keys, or similar devices can be problematic as they can be copied easily, hacked, or stolen and it may take a long time before someone notices that something is wrong,” said Ido Amidi, Vice President of Business Development at AnyVision. “Giving customers a face-based biometric option can dramatically improve a facility’s security while simultaneously streamlining the visitor management experience.”

“AnyVision is a true biometrics and facial recognition specialist which aligns well with Nedap’s best of breed integration strategy.” said Wesley Keegstra, Nedap’s Technical Integration Specialist. “Together, we are enhancing the security of access control with state-of-the-art biometrics that improve operational efficiency, the user experience, and data privacy. We look forward to bringing this innovation and business benefits to our AEOS users.”

AnyVision has been integrated into Nedap AEOS and allows customers to connect directly to their access control systems, importing and syncing relevant personnel information and unlocking the door directly by simply looking at a camera or screen. This partnership empowers organizations to harness the power of biometrics and ethical facial recognition to enhance physical security and the overall access control experience.