BIRN: Police procure face recognition technology

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The latest version of the Ministry of the Interior’s public procurement plan for 2021 includes software from the Swedish company Griffeye, which has the option of recognizing faces, the Balkan Research Network (BIRN) reported.

The procurement has not been carried out yet, and the Ministry of the Interior has not answered questions about the purpose of the procurement and how the software will be used if the procurement takes place, BIRN writes.

The Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection told BIRN that our police have no legal right to use this technology.

“This is exposing your life, coming to information that concerns you. We are talking about a global threat that I do not like. Software can also physically track you. In Serbia, we do not have the right to such a sophisticated type of data processing of citizens “ , says Commissioner Milan Marinović.

Searching for Griffeye’s program specifications, BIRN came across a very intrusive technology that the company offers to police around the world, including the Serbian Interior Ministry.

“Detection and recognition of faces in images and videos through technology applicable to a huge amount of data and images` from the real world` “, is just one of the features of Griffeye Analyze DI Pro software, according to BIRN.

In some situations, the software can only recognize a face based on the eyes, and in certain conditions, the software recognizes the face even when the eyes are not visible, such as when a person wears tinted glasses. In addition to faces, the program recognizes objects, vehicles, signs, organizations, and even tattoos.

It also has the ability to download large amounts of personal data from the Internet, and then search, sort, cross and process them based on metadata such as GPS coordinates, time when the image was taken, serial phone number…

Bojan Perkov, a representative of the SHARE Foundation, told BIRN that there was no going back once face recognition technology was introduced: “Once that system is in place, it means it will be very difficult to remove and it is an irreversible situation.” BizLife reports.