The United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Interior is working on technology that could allow police cars to automatically scan the faces of pedestrians in search of wanted criminals.
The system was demonstrated as a proof of concept at the Gitex Technology Week 2015 event in Dubai last week. It’s currently being tested and refined by the Ministry, but officials say that it’s already capable of scanning faces almost instantaneously as it passes through the streets. Those faces would theoretically be matched against criminal databases, allowing police to instantly identify suspects and wanted felons. The technology also incorporates license plate reader (LPR) technology, allowing for the detection of stolen cars.
Ministry officials say the system is meant to help make the UAE the safest country in the world, but it also raises some privacy and civil liberties issues. Those aren’t going to play out in any significant way in a monarchical system like the UAE, but if such technology is exported to liberal democracies like the US or Australia – a strong possibility, given law enforcement authorities’ enthusiasm for facial recognition – it will likely prove controversial.
In any case, it can be expected to help UAE police to do their work more effectively in the near future.
Source: Emirates 24/7
November 3, 2015 – by Alex Perala