Kasumigaseki cameras, part 2

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On January 16th, I wrote about an upcoming trial of anti-terrorism facial recognition at Kasumigaseki station in central Tokyo.

The testing begins on Monday, May 1 and runs for nearly three weeks, until Friday May 19. According to an article off the Japan Economic Newswire:

The Institution for Transport Policy Studies will conduct the experiment for one hour from 2 p.m. every weekday from May 1-19 at a designated ticket gate at Kasumigaseki Station, noting that the test will involve only selected staff and no private passengers.

The system is designed to issue an alert if the video monitor detects a person with facial features matching those of a person on a specified list, such as a list of criminal suspects compiled by the police or of condominium residents for checking building entrants, according to NTT Communications.

The system analyses the position of the nose and eyes as well as features of the skin from a video capture of the face, according to NTT Communications.

Technically, it can check one person against a list of 10,000 people per second, the Tokyo-based company said, adding that there is still room for enhancing the system's accuracy before the company releases it onto the market possibly next year.

I doubt they're going to get 3,600 (1 person/sec * 60 sec/min * 60 min/hour) employees together for an hour every day during the test, so they will run a limited test on a powerful system. What's the point? Couldn't they have done that in the lab?

This system offers a false sense of security and not much more. Terrorists are not going to be stopped by a facial recognition system, they'll simply avoid it or work around it by using unsuspected terrorists, plastic surgery, or taxis. If I can think of that, how hard can it be for someone determined to be bad to come up with a better plan?

I also believe that plain old security cameras are a bad way to secure something in the moment, even though they provide handy evidence after the fact. Did all the cameras in London stop the terrorist bombings last July? No. They caught the action on the day and even filmed a dry run of the event more than a week in advance, but nobody noticed and it didn't stop the bombings from happening.

Anti-terrorist measures need a little more thought.

1 Comment

Facial recognition software? Luxury! In Australia, we were issued with 'Be Alert Not Alarmed' fridge magnets.

ObParody - http://www.abc.net.au/cnnnn/news/s958733.htm

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