New Zealand police reviewing proposals for new facial recognition system

New Zealand police are in the process of acquiring new image management and facial recognition systems to replace an obsolete system in a climate of uncertainty about the extent of public and political support, the Otago Daily Times reports.

The old system no longer had any practical application, according to the National Forensic Services Manager for NZ Police, Inspector John Walker. The new system will work with CCTV footage, but not include real-time capabilities, Walker said.

“It’s not planned for live streaming, it’s planned for identifying an offender that’s just smacked someone over on CCTV.”

No timeframe has been provided for the implementation of the new system by NZ Police.

Southern district police have access to 72 CCTV cameras across the Otago region, according to the Times, which are owned and managed by local councils. Three councils contacted by the Times did not indicate that guidelines are in place for the technology’s use, and the daily says most declined to comment on whether they have concerns about it.

New Zealand supermarket chain Foodstuffs was reported in May to be using facial recognition in some North Island stores, but the Times reports that a spokesperson for the company said recently that the technology is not in use at stores on the South Island.

More recently, the country’s Department of Internal Affairs integrated Daon’s facial biometric platform IdentityX into its RealMe Now mobile credential app.

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