Springfield passes facial biometrics moratorium as new deployments announced

Springfield passes facial biometrics moratorium as new deployments announced

The local government of Springfield, Massachusetts has approved legislation to place a moratorium on use of biometric facial recognition by its agencies with an 11 to 2 vote, and MassLive reports that Mayor Domenic Sarno is expected to sign the temporary restrictions into law.

The moratorium tasks the city’s police department with establishing rules for the technology’s use, and having them approved by council, before it can implement facial biometrics.

Springfield is the fifth community in the state to pass local ordinances limiting the technology.

“Accurate or not, face surveillance threatens our most basic rights, enabling governments to identify who attends protests, church, or AA meetings on an unprecedented scale,” Kade Crockford, director of the Technology for Liberty Program at the ACLU of Massachusetts, said in a statement reported by MassLive.

Crockford also repeated claims that facial recognition is biased towards certain races, genders, and ages of people, and thanked Springfield City Council for its action.

The ordinance was initially written to last until 2025, but was revised after some councilors argued that the span was too long, and also proposed an exemption for missing persons cases.

Biometric Entry/Exit launched at Brownsville pedestrian crossing

Biometric facial verification technology has been deployed at the Brownsville, Texas pedestrian border crossing by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to implement Biometric Entry/Exit checks, local NBC affiliate KVEO reports.

The facial comparison technology works with accuracy over 97 percent and takes only a few seconds, and its use is optional for U.S. citizens, whose photos are deleted within 12 hours if they do participate.

CBP has previously deployed the technology to Progresso Port of Entry, among 10 other locations at the U.S. border with Mexico. More than 250 imposters have been identified at the Southwest Border with facial biometrics since September, 2018, according to CBP.

Biometric technology expanding across Indian train stations

Indian Railways biometric token system has reached seven rail stations in the country, for better management of first-come-first-serve seating, according to MediaNama. Seats in other areas of trains are not booked with biometrics, however.

Lucknow Junction, Ahmedabad, Mumbai Central and Bandra Terminus, as well as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and Lokmanya Tilak Terminus in Mumbai, and Gorakhpur Junction now have biometric terminals in operation for passengers boarding coaches on 20 major rail lines, the Lok Sabha was told by Railways Minister Piyush Goyal.

Facial recognition-equipped video surveillance systems are being installed in 983 stations across the country by Indian Railways, and the South Western Railway plans to implement the system before the end of the month.

Indian Railways telecom arm RailTel budgeted millions to install CCTV systems at 8,000 stations last year.

Police compare Carnival-goers to 32 million-image database

Brazillian police are using facial recognition to identify wanted criminals among crowds of Carnival revellers, automatically comparing images against databases with more than 32 million images ZDNet writes.

Police operate dozens of cameras in the country’s largest city, São Paulo, where police said camera feeds would be monitored from a “situation room,” with a biometrics lab handling facial recognition. A behind the scenes team and officials in the field will work together to avoid false positives, police said in an announcement.

Police estimate more than 15 million people will be out in public during the festivities, a 25 percent increase over last year.

Live facial recognition was also used at last year’s Carnival, but on a much smaller scale, according to ZDNet.

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