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Japanese CCTV Camera Can Scan 36 Million Faces/Second 115

Posted by timothy
from the once-met-alex-jones-at-mt-carmel-compound dept.
An of-course anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from the always-fun Infowars.com: "A new camera technology from Hitachi Hokusai Electric can scan days of camera footage instantly, and find any face which has EVER walked past it. Its makers boast that it can scan 36 million faces per second. The technology raises the spectre of governments – or other organisations – being able to 'find' anyone instantly simply using a passport photo or a Facebook profile. The 'trick' is that the camera 'processes' faces as it records, so that all faces which pass in front of it are recorded and stored instantly. Faces are stored as a searchable 'biometric' record, placing the unique mathematical 'faceprint' of anyone who has ever walked past the camera in a database."
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Japanese CCTV Camera Can Scan 36 Million Faces/Second

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  • The future (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 24, 2012 @03:45PM (#39462081)

    And here I was thinkin' that the level of surveillance seen in GITS wouldn't be seen in my lifetime...

    • Wearing Guy Fawkes mask on the street all the time suddenly seems like a VERY good idea...
      • hahahah I was going to say the same thing!!!
        • First you're not actually allowed to walk the streets when it's impossible to identify you. Walking around in masks is an offence just about everywhere in the world (yes, even in Saudi Arabia walking around in a full niqab is not technically allowed, and people have been arrested for it (why ? well, guy in niqab blows up bank, runs outside, and they just rounded up everyone in those clothes. They didn't even catch the guy). In normal states it's not allowed and the police will not tolerate real obscuring ma

      • Re:The future (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Internetuser1248 (1787630) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @10:04PM (#39463767)
        There are alternatives [venturebeat.com] if you don't want to wear a mask. Some of these are also less likely to get you hassled by the police. Someone should make a version of these face paint techniques that uses national flags and national team colours, then everyone will just assume you are a sports fan.
      • by turing_m (1030530)

        ...until you realize that any decent coder should be able to figure out who the genius in the Guy Fawkes mask is who is wandering around from location to location and then spontaneously disappears in location X at datestamp Y is one of 'SELECT face_id FROM face_view WHERE location_id = "X" AND datestamp="Y";'. And for those whom that did not apply (the exceptions being able to be generated algorithmically of course) are either disappearing into:
        1. Their own address. Doh.
        2. The sewer or some other location -

      • Wearing Guy Fawkes mask on the street all the time suddenly seems like a VERY good idea...

        Actually, I think I'm going to use that as my Facebook photo. Good idea.

    • by kaladorn (514293)

      Me, I was just *hoping* GITS and other such forward looking shows weren't predicting our future.

      But I really knew better since I work to develop software that enables this at times (like CALEA/lawful intercept stuff for cell nets).

    • by MrKaos (858439)

      And here I was thinkin' that the level of surveillance seen in GITS wouldn't be seen in my lifetime...

      Well the designers of the technology had to get their idea from somewhere. I'm pretty sure the SOAD song "Spiders" is about this technology.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 24, 2012 @03:46PM (#39462083)
    "The trick is that the camera processes faces as it records, so that all faces which pass in front of it are recorded and stored instantly. Faces are stored as a searchable biometric record"

    So basically it search for a record in a sorted list of up to 36 million records in under a second? Not exactly revolutionary...
    • by walkerp1 (523460)
      Indeed. The headline might lead one to believe that one camera could identify, hash, lookup, and store information on 36 million distinct faces per second - like looking at the world's biggest mob and processing everybody present. Still, this technology will undoubtedly be on Big Brother's Christmas list. Why, just imagine the civil liberty carnage a Beowulf cluster of these things could cause.
    • by yfkar (866011) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @03:58PM (#39462163)
      I wondered about the headline too. My first thought was that how on Earth could you get 36 million people to fit into one second of footage AND process it in real time. Even the article wasn't very clear about it.

      Also:

      Faces are stored as a searchable 'biometric' record, storing the unique

      It seems that the writer of the article didn't even bother to

    • by RNLockwood (224353) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @04:04PM (#39462189) Homepage

      I agree but it searches for a set of records that have some kind of a close match and doesn't stop with the first "hit" a la CSI.

      Wonder why there was no mention of the false positive and false negative rates? Perhaps they are a little too high?

  • faced post
  • i'd love to know how accurate this thing is. Finally, we can find Japanese Waldo
  • placing the unique mathematical 'faceprint' of anyone who has ever walked past the camera in a database...

    For some definition of unique known only to Hitachi Hokusai Electric.

  • by Cazekiel (1417893) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @03:59PM (#39462169)

    If I lived in Japan, I'd walk around with THE stupidest smile ever, eyes wide as saucers, pretending that everything I'm looking at is the most fascinating thing in the universe. I mean, I do this ALREADY, but I'd up the ante severely, all so I can imagine officials watching the surveillance tapes muttering, "WTF is this chick on?"

    • by TheLink (130905)
      Doing silly/strange stuff in front of cameras increases your chances of ending up on youtube. Then someone downloads it, edits it and uploads the new version with music and effects...

      The upcoming generation better have thick skin- their peers seem ever ready to record and upload. Once while driving I saw someone peeing in public, no big deal to me, but one of his friends(?) was using a phone to record it (without his knowledge presumably)!
    • There are girls on the internet now? When did that happen?
  • If I would ever become a criminal or terrorist I'm already prepared for dumb technology like this. I have long hair, a moustache and a goatee. After I committed my crime I will simple shave and cut my hair. And that's simply the easy, quick and painless change.
    Sure, if I'm a foreigner I might it means I probably entered the country by showing my passport. So they would probably know who I /was/. But because I'm changed my appearance drastically they would have a hard time to find me.
    The people that looked a

    • And if you're a normal person not doing anything illegal (unlikely given how many laws there are), you'll always have cameras watching you. Paranoia of criminals is nice, isn't it? No different from terrorist paranoia.

    • If I would ever become a criminal or terrorist I'm already prepared for dumb technology like this. I have long hair, a moustache and a goatee. After I committed my crime I will simple shave and cut my hair. And that's simply the easy, quick and painless change.

      Oh, now you've done it...now they'll fit their cameras with sonar and/or radar and/or infrared to see "through" facial hair.

      Oh, well..should create a booming market for the security pics [hoax-slayer.com].

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Mustache and goatee removal ( or adding ) wont fool modern facial recognition software.

      It might fool software from 10 years ago, but things have advanced, quite a bit.

      • by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie.hotmail@com> on Saturday March 24, 2012 @04:40PM (#39462387) Homepage

        Indeed. However, there are still ways of fooling them with makeup and a few bits of silicone, and both are easy to apply and take off. For example adding a wee bit of skin-coloured silicone on your cheekbones and forehead totally changes how you look. Then apply some slightly darker blush on your cheeks and eyesockets and you'll look like an entirely different person. Then just wipe the makeup on your sleeve, pick the silicone off with your fingers and you'll be your old self in less than 30 seconds.

        • by Shavano (2541114)

          The silicone is likely to work. The makeup, maybe not. It depends on how they're measuring and encoding facial data.

        • by TheLink (130905)
          Gets harder if there are cameras "everywhere".

          For example say you do that change in a rest room and there are cameras monitoring the corridor outside the restroom. The system will know that Mr X, Mr Y and Mr Silicone went in. But Mr Y, Mr X, and you came out.
        • by kaladorn (514293)
          Yes, but there are imaging technologies out there that can image things like facial structure and sub-surface capillary maps. Those things are not easily disguised (as far as I am aware) because they are penetrative imaging and they map sub-surface features.

          If this kind of thing can be made to operate all over the place (high CC camera density) and married to a highly capable data sifting system, it will be very hard to fool (or seems so at present). Face makeup and even prosthesis or fake hair won't cut it
          • Yes, but there are imaging technologies out there that can image things like facial structure and sub-surface capillary maps. Those things are not easily disguised (as far as I am aware) because they are penetrative imaging and they map sub-surface features.

            It sounds like you've read about something you haven't actually understood. There is no such a thing as "penetrative imaging" unless you mean X-ray or gamma ray imaging. There does exist software that tries to discard features like hair, glasses and whatever extra assortments and guesses one's facial structure, it however does not somehow magically penetrate your skin or such, it is all just mathematics based on visual data.

            Furthermore, such a system could likely tell that you had on fake hair, etc. (potentially)

            No, they do not.

  • ...this camera was invented to prove that superman exists.

    Now I'll know for sure that Clark Kent taunts his boss at least 36 million times a day at the Daily Planet!

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @04:05PM (#39462203)

    In a public area.

    So maybe it's time to amend the Constitution. "The government or its agents shall not track people's whereabouts, except when a warrant has been obtained through a judge, and supported by oath or affirmation."

    • by jklovanc (1603149)

      Then warrants become more of a catch 22 than they were before; One needs evidence to get a warrant one needs a warrant to get evidence. One also does not know they need to track someone until they become a suspect. If there is no record of where they were then much evidence is lost.

      • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

        That's the whole point. If you're not bothering anyone, law enforcement has no business keeping tabs on you. It was designed that way, erring on the side of letting guilty people go free.

        When the Constitution was written, such abuses of power were a big enough deal that they put it in the Bill of Rights.

        It's the same idea behind "âoeBetter that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer."
        http://works.bepress.com/alexander_volokh/9/ [bepress.com]

        • by ankhank (756164) *

          > no business keeping tabs on you.

          Unless, back then, you were someone's property.
          Fortunately, they later outlawed slavery as well.

          Customer retention, however, remains legal.

        • by jklovanc (1603149)

          How does one suffer when someone else logs one's location? In fact it is a two edged sword; a suspect can be found near the place the crime was committed and possibly convicted. The suspect could just as well as being found far away and cleared.

          The ten 10-1 ration are just numbers. It is possible that tracking people could solve hundreds of crimes, clear hundreds of people and be misused in very few cases.

          I have np problem with the government tracking where I am. I have nothing to hide.

          Please quote where i

          • You have no problem with it until the day comes when you are in someone's way. Then someone will "give" you something to hide. Only you won't have a chance. Sure the chance that this will happen to "you" is infinitesimal, but the chance that it will happen to someone is nearly certain. Do I really need to extend my line of thought here any further? Or are you OK with powerful people being able to eliminate anyone who threatens their power?
            • by jklovanc (1603149)

              Someone has been watching way too many action movies. They are not reality. If someone is powerful enough to "eliminate anyone who threatens their power" they would not need facial recognition to do it; they have people for that.

              The chances that cameras can help solve crimes is absolutely certain thousands of times over.

              You seem to think that possible misuses override all other considerations. You can be the one to tell that to the families of every person killed even though their killer was wanted and walk

    • by ffflala (793437)
      What is the point of this amendment, when private citizens will remain free to do the same? And then, of course, to sell the information to whoever will pay for it, be they private companies, the government agencies of *any* state, or interested individuals?
  • by jklovanc (1603149) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @04:28PM (#39462311)

    Come on editors do your job. The headline is "Japanese CCTV Camera Can Scan 36 Million Faces/Second". That is not even close to what this system is doing. System does the following;
    1. creates a thumbnail picture of the face. How long this takes is not noted.
    2. Searches a database for matches. This is where the 36 Million faces/second comes in and is not done by the camera at all.

    A better headline would have been "Japanese CCTV Camera Can Search Through 36 Million Faces/Second". That is a much less impressive feat than scanning as it is just a way of encoding a face for faster searches.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      The interesting part isn't even the camera, it's the database that can search 36 million biometric data sets, accounting for errors and variations due to things like perspective and lighting, in under one second with any degree of accuracy.

      The UK government is probably close to doing this already. Traffic cameras capture every car number plate that goes past and stores it in a database. It's only a matter of time because a biometric face database is set up, if one doesn't already exist somewhere in the bowe

      • by burne (686114)

        The UK government is probably close to doing this already.

        You're sure of this? Because they need a million camera's to solve a thousand crimes per year, and Burroughs without CCTV do better when it comes to solving crimes. (Google it! Find your own facts!)

        • by jklovanc (1603149)

          It is all just numbers until you put up actual references ("Google it" is not a reference). If you want to refute something put up a real reference and you may change opinions. Otherwise you are just pulling stuff out of your butt.

      • by Shavano (2541114)

        There's no telling whether it's ACCURATE. It just compares it to other faces, and probably comes up with a set of 1000 or so possible matches.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      "Japanese CCTV System Can Search Through 36 Million Faces/Second"

      The camera doesn't search anything.

      • by jklovanc (1603149)

        Which is exactly what I said in my point #2.

        • by ceoyoyo (59147)

          And yet you still managed to get the headline wrong. Maybe it's not such a stupid mistake after all.

          • by jklovanc (1603149)

            I see the difference ... finally. Even though I posted "This is where the 36 Million faces/second comes in and is not done by the camera at all" I didn't change enough of the headline. Damn, I thought I was perfect. ;) Oh well, better luck next time.

  • by jfengel (409917) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @04:46PM (#39462419) Homepage Journal

    The link is to a paranoid source (Infowars), citing a disreputable newspaper (The Daily Mail), citing (but not linking to) a press release, for a product which the abysmally sketchy article is available "within the next tax year". None of which even begins to mention its actual capabilities beyond the misrepresented data point of "scanning 36 million faces".

    In other words, unless somebody has a link to something of value, the entire thing seems like fiction designed to give people something to be pleasantly outraged about on a Saturday afternoon.

    • by MobileC (83699)

      The entire thing seems like fiction designed to give people something to be pleasantly outraged about on a Saturday afternoon.

      Works for me. Although it's Sunday here...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The source is one of the videos posted by DigInfo from the 2012 Security Show in Japan (http://www.diginfo.tv/v/12-0040-r-en.php).

      Apart from the misleading headline, scaremongering and other examples of bad journalism, the Daily Mail also got the name of the Japanese company wrong. It's Hitachi Kokusai Electric, not Hitachi Hokusai Electric. Their article includes uncredited screenshots of the DigInfo video.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Yeah, but can it shoot 36 million faces per second with a super soaker? [slashdot.org]

    Captcha: winces

  • Guy Fawkes masks. Everyone should start wearing Guy Fawkes masks.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Or just medical mask which is quite popular there when people get sick or don't want to get sick.

  • by jamesh (87723)

    Maybe those Muslims are just ahead of their time... are you allowed to wear a burqa in Japan?

  • Pretty sure it's Kokusai, with a K, not H. We went by HiKE (Hi Kay Eee). I worked there for almost five years.

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