Robocop becomes reality with Spain’s Ex-Sight
ALICANTE–The cyborg facial recognition of Robocop becomes a reality as Spain’s Ex-Sight technology equips police officers with the ability to scan 100,000 faces per second. They can then cross these images with whose in a database and, in moments, identify suspects.
The first widespread implementation of this technology is with the Brazilian police getting ready for the next World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. ”The military police have a database of suspicious people they connect with our software, and our software runs inside the control center in every stadium,” says Elazar Lozano Vidal, of Ex-Sight Spain. There are cameras at each entrance of the sports stadiums. “The police have also cameras in the glasses, one of the lens is a screen and (the other) has a camera in the glass.”
Lozano says these Ex-Eye facial recognition glasses are used to scan every person that goes in front of these cameras, up to 100,000 faces a second, and that one well-situated police officer is enough to detect a crowd on a street.
The officer “moves his face and with the glasses detects a lot of people, and sends these faces by Internet to the central control of the stadium,” Lozano says. “Then, if someone is detected in the system (as) suspicious, the computer detects that person” and the force is notified. The static cameras placed at the entrances can do the same.
The Activex database then compares the new photograph of the “suspicious person” with the face that’s in the police database. Lozano says this is beneficial because the database photo may be more than a year old and have complicated-for-the-naked-eye-to-spot differences like a beard or glasses. He says there is a 98-percent effectiveness in the facial recognition comparisons.
Just last month, Ex-Eye seemed already worth the cost, when a riot ensued at a football championship, which caused the death of two people. The police were able to use the technology to scan crowd videos to find the riot’s instigators. These persons won’t be allowed to reenter Brazil’s stadiums, potentially preventing future incidents.
Ex-Eye glasses and entrance cameras are also being used on a U.S. military base in Egypt. Originally, the base was using security cards, but that was deemed too transferable. “The cards of family let anyone enter,” Lozano says. With Ex-Sight cameras, if a face is not recognized by the system, doors will not open and vehicles may not enter the base.
Ex-sight is currently in negotiations with implementing the technology in Football Club Barcelona’s stadium. However, it doesn’t currently seem possible for public use in Spain.
“It’s complicated in Spain because of the laws of security,” Lozano says. “The police cannot share the photos with this private organization (Ex-Sight).” He explains that Brazil has only one level of police, operating under the same leadership and organization, with a shared database. Spain has a civil guard and a military police, as well as certain regional forces, like in the Basque Country and Catalonia, and municipal corps, all working, at times, independently.
Ex-Sight doesn’t save the data. Just save the numbers of facial patterns: 40 numbers,” Lozano says, who is sure this doesn’t infringe on civil liberties. “I don’t have your face” or name. He says his company Ex-Sight processes these patterned numbers, but has no data on any individual. “If I compare it with a database with the police, yes, the police know if you’re a terrorist, but I don’t know that.” The company or government organization that subscribes to the Ex-Sight service decides if they want to save the accumulated data or not.
Lozano is a firm believer that Ex-Sight’s technology can fight terrorism and would’ve been essential in catching the Madrid Atocha train station bombers.
“Here in Spain, the theme of secuirty is very down,” he says. He explains that there were at least three video cameras that had images of suspicious persons surrounding the bombings on March 11, 2004, which left 191 dead and 1,800 people wounded. It is almost agreed now that the 11-M bombings were done in the name of al-Qaeda, but it has been a topic of controversy for years.
Lozano says that police had to go through all the recordings around the station from that day, identify the suspected persons, and then search numerous recordings from previous days to try to find patterns–all with the naked eye.
Lozano assures Ex-Sight’s security system is much more effective because you “utilize the information in the moment.” He says that if the station had the technology on 11-M, the police could have been quicker to act. “They only moved when something happened, and they needed to look at all videos to I.D. the three people” that were determined to be involved.
He argues that Spanish security hasn’t improve much since, as he talks of a bank shooting that occurred in Santander just last year. “A guy with a mustache and black glasses–and the police needed to go through the video with every day to see if this guy arrived some days before to check out the bank,” knowing that he could have looked very different.
The eight-year-old Ex-Sight had its first successes with increasing security of computer log-ins. The Ex-Sight technology has been used for logging onto Windows, as well as creating an extremely secure USB flash drive. Now, they are being implemented at on-line banks–especially those based in Spain and India–, where users need to use both a password and to be verified facially, before entering their on-line accounts.
The plan of Ex-sight is go beyond the face “to design a complete platform for facial recognition, license plate recognition, and analytics, (that) can detect and count people, cars, dogs, and detect fires,” Lozano says. “Make all the systems in the same product.”
“We are designing a camera that detects fire from 40 centimeters to seven kilometers from the camera,” Lozano say. “It’s perfect for a fire in forest.” Lozano says this is the first in the world. It is already being used in refineries in Israel, where Ex-Sight’s other headquarters is located.
They see obvious security applications for their integrated systems at stadiums, airports, entrances of malls and other heavily-trafficked places.