Test of facial recognition by computer fails

11th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

11 July 2007 , Wiesbaden, Germany (dpa) - Computers programmed to recognize terrorists on the streets have proved a failure, according to German federal police Wednesday at the end of a major test.

11 July 2007

Wiesbaden, Germany (dpa) - Computers programmed to recognize terrorists on the streets have proved a failure, according to German federal police Wednesday at the end of a major test.

In the facial-recognition trial, the computers only detected "wanted" passers-by 60 per cent of the time, said Joerg Ziercke, chief of the BKA federal crime bureau.

There was major media attention last year when cameras were trained on the stairs of busy Mainz railway station in western Germany, automatically observing 23,000 commuters daily.

The computer compared the images with photographs of dozens of citizens who had volunteered for the test.

Ziercke said he would recommend a halt to federal funding for the project. Three systems were tested, but even with perfect lighting, none had come close to recognizing face shapes the way that the human eye does.

Police require close to 100-cent-accuracy, he said.

German police have already deployed similar systems that recognize car number-plates. Installed on main highways, they give an automatic alarm to patrols when stolen or wanted cars drive past.

DPA

Subject: German news

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