Match That Face (1999)
New software can take images from surveillance cameras and identify known offenders in a crowd.
Almost anywhere you go these days, where security is important, there will be cameras watching you.
In places, like airports, where there are hundreds of cameras, the videotape is often only viewed after a breach of security has occurred.
Now, a new system from the Australian Research Agency CSIRO has an alarm which can tell operators the moment a known offender appears on the screen.
With this new CSIRO system, images from cameras scanning the crowd, are processed and reduced into highly compressed data. This set of image features, or vectors, are then compared to images stored in a database.
Dr Geoff Poulton
“If we have one of our systems installed at an airport and they walk through the immigration hall, their picture can be recorded and compared against a terrorist data base, and if they are indeed terrorists then the security people can be alerted”
Hundreds of thousands of images can be stored for recognition, however it is only as good as the human eye. This means it could probably be fooled by a good disguise. But what does it mean to the privacy of ordinary citizens?
“We’re very much aware of the privacy issues in this type of technology, but those privacy issues are really directed on whether and where you use video cameras to capture images.
Once you have a video camera in a situation then how you process the information is the subject of our technology”
This identification system can also be used for security in homes and businesses. Here a chip in a card not only recognises this staff members number, but a small camera records her image and compares it against her stores image, before allowing her to enter.
Surveillance cameras are a fact of modern life in casinos, banks, airports and in many places of work. These systems will mean an immediate identification of known offenders.