AnyVision has released a new surveillance application for law enforcement and military operations. Dubbed OnPatrol, the app can run locally on an officer’s body camera or a smartphone, and uses facial recognition to identify persons of interest while in the field.
In that regard, AnyVision attempted to distinguish OnPatrol from more comprehensive surveillance tools, noting that OnPatrol was designed specifically for watchlist matching. That means that the solution will not identify members of the general public, and will instead only identify missing persons, or dangerous individuals that have already caught the attention of law enforcement and have been placed on a watchlist of potential threats.
Even so, OnPatrol is likely to raise the concern of privacy advocates, who will argue that the tool could be used as part of a police surveillance scheme. AnyVision has faced scrutiny in the past, most notably when Microsoft divested from the Israeli company following allegations that its facial recognition tech was being used to monitor Palestinians in the West Bank. The subsequent investigation did not find any evidence to support those particular claims, though AnyVision acknowledged that its tech has been used at Israeli border checkpoints.
In the meantime, AnyVision has emphasized the need for unbiased facial recognition solutions. The company has also asked the NIST to craft ethical guidelines to steer future development.
The OnPatrol app will send a real-time notification to an officer whenever their phone or body camera identifies someone on a watchlist. Since the solution runs offline and on-device, it can function underground or in remote areas with poor connectivity, and will reduce infrastructure costs for law enforcement agencies.
“OnPatrol can help de-escalate potential threats and prevent physical harm by identifying criminals and dangerous individuals,” said AnyVision CTO Dieter Joecker. “It is designed specifically to recognize and check individual faces against a designated watchlist — even when people are in motion, captured in poor lighting, or partially obscured by surrounding people.”
AnyVision is hoping that the solution will appeal to US law enforcement agencies, especially now that the Bureau of Justice Assistance is making $7.65 million in microgrant funding available to provide body cameras for small and rural police departments. The company itself recently brought in $235 million in a major round of funding.
July 23, 2021 – by Eric Weiss