Friday, August 03, 2007

Facial recognition technology still works poorly

After the Texas Department of Public Safety spent millions revamping its drivers license database to be able to use facial recognition technology, and the Legislature removed all restrictions for police use of the data, via Bruce Schneier we now discover the technology works quite poorly. (Are you shocked?) Schneier writes:
For a few months, German police tested a face recognition system. Two hundred frequent travellers volunteered to have their faces recorded and three different systems tried to recognize the faces in the crowds of a train station. Results (in German): 60% recognition at best, 30% on average (depending on light and other factors).
Terrific - all that wasted money, a dramatic expansion of police access to non-criminals' personal information, even biometric computer passwords, and all so Texas can use a vendor-driven technology that works on average 30% of the time.

Just as unnerving, the company that got the Texas contract has a history of losing drivers personal data to identity thieves.

Rep. Frank Corte from San Antonio is the man who ramrodded this bad idea through the legislative process in 2005, so be sure to thank him for the subsequent wasted tax dollars and loss of personal privacy. I know for a fact Chairman Corte was warned during the legislative process that this technology wasn't ripe and it was premature to spend tens of millions of dollars trying to hit a moving target. He didn't listen, and they missed the target, banking on new technology that turns out to work very poorly.

You know what they say, $20 million here, $20 million there, pretty soon it starts to add up to real money.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

it really is a surveillance society; ever notice all the cameras along the roads? in the stores? how long until big brother taps into that to track what we do? of course, there are those who argue that if we're not doing anything wrong, we don't have to worry! HAH! with this face recognition crap, what if it mistakes an innocent person for a wanted criminal? then what happens?

nurit said...

Are you telling me that the things I see on "CSI" aren't really the way they seem? Any computerized database and analysis is GIGO!