The local government is set to roll out a new face recognition software as part of their increased CCTV security in Perth, West Australia’s capital and largest city. Local residents and tourists are expected to benefit from thees facial recognition cameras as their faces are checked and compared to identify known troublemakers and criminals in the city’s “Black Watchist.”
This strengthened CCTV security in Perth is considered ahead of its time. The technology is so new that even the state of Western Australia still doesn’t use it. The city will be the first to use said technology in Western Australia, although not the first in the whole country. The Australian Border force uses the same technology for automatic passport checks at Perth Airport. The Western Australian police does not use it either, although they rely on its national information sharing service called CrimTac. The Optus Stadium has said that they have the technical capability to implement the same system, but is not using it either.
How it Works
According to the city’s statement, the system will scan people’s faces as they pass the cameras and will be checked against their watchlist. This is expected to help in identifying wanted individuals trying to blend in with the crowd. According to City Chair Commissioner Eric Lumsden, any person wanted by the authorities or known troublemakers can be integrated into their system for easier identification.
Some of these cameras will be placed along the Matagarup Bridge to Optus Stadium to deter crime and possible terrorist attacks.
Beyond Facial Recognition
Aside from recognizing faces and checking them against their list, the system is also set to provide analytics for predicting and preventing crowd-crush incidents as well as possible anti-social activities in the area. The $1.075 million project can also count people, cyclists, and vehicles to monitor movement and notify authorities before incidents occur. It is also expected to detect plate numbers and abandoned items, as well as broadcast PA announcements.
David Vaile, chairman of the Australian Privacy Foundation, says that the city may need to answer some serious questions about their role and responsibilities and whether they are over-reaching it by implementing said system. An independent review on a similar technology being tested in London has shown that there is a lack of clarity in its legal basis and regulation.