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Surveillance Shades Augment Law Enforcement

Life imitates science fiction to enhance Brazilian crowd security.

Stephen Fortune
Stephen Fortune on April 15, 2011.

Facial recognition technology is a prominent part of our life, given Facebook and Google’s enthusiastic adoption of the technology. However the long arm of the law may now incorporate the technology into their policing tools:

Brazilian police in Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paolo have begun demoing “RoboCop” glasses: shades which scan faces in a crowd and check them against a criminal database. At distances up to 50 yards, the glasses can reportedly scan 400 faces per second, comparing 46,000 biometric points on a person’s face against a database of terrorists and other criminals. If a match is made it is indicated by a red light that appears within the glasses frame, allowing police to zero in on those people with problematic pasts (or currently questionable legal statuses) without having to put police and citizens through the tedium of random ID checks.

Those who are already wary about the potential for police databases to unduly encroach upon citizens rights will be unlikely to celebrate this new technology too enthusiastically. However if the technology works as successively as advertised then it surely won’t be long before others put these all seeing sunglasses to more creative uses, as we’ve already seen with several explorations of offbeat uses of facial recognition (such as offering culinary advise to would be chefs).

PopSci: “Brazilian Cops Get Augmented Eyeglasses That Can Pick Guilty Faces Out of a Crowd”

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