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article imageNew Japanese security camera scans 36 million faces per second

By Leigh Goessl     Mar 26, 2012 in Technology
A new security camera product has been developed by a Japanese company which can search through a massive amount of data in one second, based on facial recognition technologies.
If you thought Big Brother had already arrived, Hitachi Kokusai Electric has just kicked the gauge up several notches, in the form of millions of indexes.
According to DigInfoTV, a Tokyo video news site, Hitachi Kokusai Electric's new development can sift through data on 36 million faces in one second. The report states the technology can find a face matching against either surveillance footage or a photo.
“This high speed is achieved by detecting faces through image recognition when the footage from the camera is recorded, and also by grouping similar faces,” Seiichi Hirai, Hitachi Kokusai Electric researcher told DigInfo TV.
"We think this system is suitable for customers that have a relatively large-scale surveillance system, such as railways, power companies, law enforcement, and large stores," the company said.
RT reported Hitachi has used algorithms combined with facial recognition software. Any images captured on the new system is susceptible to a search conducted on other databases to track people and saved in what sounds like a master database of sorts. RT describes it as "Where before authorities would have spent hours trawling through CCTV footage, an individual can now be found in the blink of an eye."
Reportedly the search results are instant and possible candidates immediately shown to the searcher, although limitations exist, such as the faces must turn within 30 degrees of the camera and be 40 x 40 pixels in size.
So while this appears to be Hitachi's niche market segment, where does that leave everyone else who will undoubtedly be impacted if these agencies and businesses embrace the new CCTV monitoring system?
Geekosystem points out, "Of course, the existence of technology that can perform facial recognition on such a scale doesn’t directly translate to immediate and total surveillance of everyone everywhere. It does, on the other hand, make the installation of cameras, lots of cameras, infinitely more useful and justifiable, from a cost-benefit standpoint."
Then again, lesser scaled versions using biometrics in the past have failed to meet objectives, so in all likelihood, if this new product succeeds in its purpose, it'll depend upon the data being compared against.
No quote just yet on how much something like this will cost, but it looks like this product will be available sometime next year. If this successfully launches and works as planned, it sounds as if 2013 could perhaps be the year Big Brother truly arrives in style.
What do you think? Do these types of technologies using stored biometric data help protect society? Does it make you feel more secure?
More about CCTV, Privacy, Security, Japan, Facial recognition
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