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Malaysian state launches facial recognition to CCTV network


The State of Penang has launched the first public facial recognition system in Malaysia to the CCTV network on Penang Island to help police track down wanted criminals and reduce crime, the Malay Mail report.

The city surveillance system uses AI to identify faces captured by the CCTV network operated by Penang Island City Council (MBPP). IBM Intelligent Video Analytics (IVA) technology is used for facial recognition. It will be rolled out over a three-year period from December 2017 through 2020, with a cost of RM12 million (US$2.89 million).

“Wanted persons can be traced using this system and this system is fully linked with the police operations room in Penang,” Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said in a speech at the MBPP Operation Centre.

The MBPP is in the process of installing 150 new cameras to expand its network of 767 CCTV cameras, while the mainland Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) is adding 94 cameras to its 130-camera network. Most of the cameras are located at major roads, intersections, and hotspots for criminal activity.

The system will be used for other smart city purposes than just crime reduction.

“The IVA can trace various traffic violations such as illegal parking, vehicles that used the emergency lanes, measure water level when it rains and facial recognition of people captured by the CCTV,” says MBPP Mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang.

The system is being paid for at the state level, and a local government official told the Malay Mail that he hopes the federal government will consider subsidizing the system and extending it nation-wide.

Malaysia’s auxiliary police force began using body cameras with facial recognition technology provided by YITU last year.

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