FBI exploring new facial and behavioral recognition from surveillance cameras

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Madison Ruppert
Activist Post

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is reportedly considering new video analytic software that would enable identification of suspects in videos and still imagery based on both facial and behavioral recognition.

This type of technology has been under development for quite a while, with a patent awarded for behavioral recognition software last year. Indeed, it has been said that the future of CCTV is in the field of behavioral recognition and so-called “remote biometrics.”

However, the system that the FBI is working on could also scan footage against records of objects and places in addition to people, in order to detect possible suspects and their location.

“The FBI is currently undertaking a major issue study of video and digital image processing and video/digital image analytic capabilities to identify current capabilities, assess gaps, and develop a roadmap for the FBI’s future video analytics architecture,” the bureau stated in a contracting notice published on Oct. 30.

Contractors are to submit written proposals by Nov. 13 and up to 30 vendors will be invited to present their technology at FBI headquarters on Dec. 11.

Unlike the facial recognition systems that are increasingly being rolled out across the United States with the FBI’s help, this technology would analyze backgrounds.

The Department of Homeland Security, meanwhile, is funding research on more accurate long-distance facial recognition technology.

The new technology would compute “the degree of similarity among pedestrians, graffiti designs, buildings in the background of photos, and other recurring images in videos and stills,” NextGov reports.

This technology could come in handy given the use of massive camera networks to monitor large events.

For this year’s New York City Marathon, for instance, the New York Police Department rolled out hundreds of cameras to monitor the route in real time, part of the city’s Domain Awareness System.

Some 1,400 additional security cameras owned by private companies could also be accessed, according to The New York Times.

The FBI is also looking for technology to help the bureau archive the massive amount of video they capture from both government-owned cameras and those operated by the private sector.

One of the features sought by the FBI for the new technology is the ability to automatically group images captured from video based on a shared element like a t-shirt logo.

One function, dubbed “tracking and re-identification,” would allow the bureau to track a target across multiple video sources and eventually find the target’s name.

The bureau is also seeking to integrate behavioral recognition, using a method sometimes called “soft biometrics,” which analyzes “gait, expression, voice” and other mannerisms to automatically recognize target individuals.

This area of research is reportedly one that companies are pouring their efforts into, according to Paul Wormeli, executive director emeritus of the government-funded Integrated Justice Information Systems Institute (IJIS Institute).

“Many companies have focused their creative juices on the issue of video analytics just because of Boston, as they saw in countless stories in the press how helpful video could be if only we had the ability to search it easily and quickly without an army of investigators pouring over every video inch,” Wormeli said.

Indeed, Wormeli argued that the FBI would be considered incompetent if they didn’t research more advanced video analytics.

It’s worth noting that the IJIS Institute is funded by their member companies along with “grants from the U.S. Department of Justice, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security,” according to their website.

These types of technologies raise many potential legal concerns, some of which were raised by Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst for the American Civil Liberties Union, in July.

As Homeland Security News Wire notes, “The legal implications are yet to be discussed by legislators.” This will likely be a significant area of debate as the technology is developed and rolled out on a more widespread basis.

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This article first appeared at End the Lie.

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