AI-Driven Facial Recognition Platform Scans Web for Missing Children

“A key component of the GMCNgine is Rekognition, Amazon’s controversial computer vision platform.”

AI-Driven Facial Recognition Platform Scans Web for Missing ChildrenFacial recognition technology’s growing role in the fight against child exploitation could see a substantial expansion after the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children’s launch of a new AI-driven system this week.

Called the GMCNgine, the system leverages machine learning and artificial intelligence technology to automatically scan the web for images of missing children, using data fed into the system from the 33 members of the ICMEC’s Global Missing Children’s Network, which includes law enforcement agencies and NGOs spanning 29 countries. The system also features a dynamic advertizing capability that uses geo-targeting to deliver child endangerment alerts to specific communities as necessary.

A key component of the GMCNgine is Rekognition, Amazon’s controversial computer vision platform. Amazon has faced intense criticism this year from privacy and civil rights groups, shareholders, and even Amazon employees over its sale of Rekognition to law enforcement agencies seeking to use it in public surveillance; the company has defended itself in part by arguing that Rekognition offers a valuable tool for organizations seeking to track the victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Another major tech company, Google, has leveraged computer vision technology to scan the web for media depicting the sexual abuse of children, a collaborative endeavor undertaken in partnership with the Internet Watch Foundation and other NGOs. But by using facial recognition specifically to identify vulnerable children, the GMCNgine could ultimately prove more impactful in preventing the creation and distribution of such media, with ICMEC CEO Maura Harty proclaiming in a statement that the system “sparks global change in missing child investigations.”

The GMCNgine was launched this week in Cordoba, Spain, at the 10th annual Global Missing Children’s Network conference.

November 29, 2018 – by Alex Perala