Boston Police Used Facial Recognition Technology To Capture Every Face At A Recent Music Festival

Thanks to a far left & right Libertarian friend on Facebook, I get to see some crazy posts sometimes.

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Geez, this is the kind of thing that prompts an email I received from a brother-in-law warning all his friends and family about facial recognition technology being used by almost every city police dept AND major retailers in cahoots with the Feds to track us!!! Don't worry, I replied all and straightened them out :) Ask your "friend" to tell us exactly what magical product the Boston PD is supposedly using that captures every face in a crowd.

The article states IBM. This kind of surprised me but it also does not surprise me. IBM has Watson and a vast database. If someone could do FR someday (90% + accuracy)...It would be IBM.

We all know the analytic capabilities of our industry...But do we really know the analytic capabilities of Big Blue?

IBM has been trying in the security industry for more than a decade. Despite that, I have never heard anyone vouch for the quality of their analytics. To the contrary, there are many horror stories about the vast expanse of IBM hand deployed solutions with poor results.

For example, this article says this case was a pilot that did not go forward.

From the article:

The documents showed that IBM allowed the city’s government to use its “Face Capture” software with the intent of tracking the face of every person who came through the door
Terminology is the key here as there is a big difference between facial capture and facial recognition.
The facial capture in use here is just grabbing a face shot, and cataloguing it to a database with a time date stamp.
At some future point they may "try" to run a query vs. a database of faces to achieve a match

and, important to note, capturing that face shot from what sounds like a controlled entrance point. The headline would lead you to believe they were capturing faces in a crowd outside. Being in sunny Arizona - our music festivals tend to be in parks & other outdoor venues with no single entry. Thanks for the additional info re: IBM & the set up - that might be a little more believable even with FR. If they have a controlled entrance, the right lighting, the right camera and a database of known terrorists, felons, whatever - its conceivable they could be using FR somewhat successfully right?

Yes - if it's a controlled entry then I think FR may be somewhat effective

Example: border / customs where someone stands directly in front of camera, in a well lit area with no hat