An Israeli firm is developing another way to monitor Palestinians; body cameras with facial recognition technology for Israeli occupation forces to scan Palestinians, even if their faces are obscured.
Built by Yozmot, a strategic planning firm owned by former Israeli forces chief, Dany Tirza, the technology will enable the occupation forces to scan Palestinians and “detect the suspects in real-time, even if their faces are obscured, and build a database of such identities.”
“The policeman will know who he is facing,” Tirza told Agence France-Presse (AFP), saying it is expected to have the body camera finished within a year.
Tirza, the Israeli apartheid wall architect, said he partnered with Tel Aviv-based Corsight AI to develop the body-worn camera that could instantly identify people in a crowd, even if they wear masks, make-up or camouflage, and could match them to photographs dating back decades, which he claimed Australian and British police were already piloting.
However, Corsight CEO, Rob Watts, refused to confirm the collaboration with Yozmot, according to AFP, but said that it was working with some 230 “integrators” worldwide who incorporated facial recognition software into cameras.
Facial recognition in law enforcement has sparked global criticism, with tech giants in the United States backing away from providing the technology to police, citing privacy risks.
The facial recognition industry was worth about $3.7 billion in 2020, according to market research firm Mordor Intelligence, which projected growth to $11.6 billion by 2026.
Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM have all declared temporary or permanent freezes on selling facial recognition programs to law enforcement.
Last month, France ordered the US-based Clearview AI to delete data on its citizens, saying the company violated privacy when it built a facial recognition database using images “scraped” from the internet.
Watts called Clearview’s actions “abhorrent” and said Corsight AI did not sell to China, Russia or Myanmar because of “human rights and ethics.”
“What we want to do is promote facial recognition as a force for good,” he said.
He said Corsight had hired Tony Porter, the United Kingdom’s former surveillance camera commissioner, as chief privacy officer, and that the software would blur or delete faces deemed not of interest within seconds.
Israeli facial recognition software has encountered criticism.
In November, former Israeli soldiers revealed they had photographed thousands of Palestinians to build a database for a sweeping facial recognition surveillance program in the West Bank city of Hebron.
In 2020, Microsoft divested from Israeli facial recognition firm AnyVision, now renamed Oosto, over the company’s involvement in surveilling Palestinians.
Palestinian digital rights activist Nadim Nashif said the use of facial recognition technology entrenched Israel’s “control” over Palestinians and added to a “domination” of physical spaces.