Corsight AI is reportedly developing facial recognition body cameras for police officers and soldiers in Israel. The technology would presumably be used to help identify members of the minority Palestinian population, and expand the scope of the country’s surveillance operations in the West Bank territory.
The news comes courtesy of an Israeli consulting company called Yozmot. Yozmot is owned by Col. Danny Tirza, who previously served as the IDF’s Chief of Regional Strategic Planning before moving on to the private sector. Tirza is credited as one of the key architects of Israel’s West Bank security fence, and has announced that his company would be the one outfitting Israeli soldiers and law enforcement with body cameras with facial recognition capabilities.
He also claimed that the Tel Aviv-based Corsight would be assisting with development and providing the facial recognition software for the project. However, Corisght itself is yet to confirm the partnership, and instead stated only that it is currently working with roughly 230 integrators all over the world. The company’s technology can accurately identify faces in large crowds in real-time, even if those faces are hidden behind makeup or a mask.
Corsight noted that its platform blurs and deletes the faces of people who are not of interest, though that is unlikely to reassure members of a highly monitored demographic. Israel has repeatedly been criticized for its invasive surveillance of the Palestinian population, and Corsight is not the first Israeli facial recognition developer to draw scrutiny for alleged involvement with the program. AnyVision (now rebranded as Oosto) was investigated for providing the Israeli military with facial recognition tech in 2019, and while the audit cleared the company of wrongdoing, Microsoft nevertheless decided to divest from AnyVision in the wake of the report.
Corsight’s facial recognition algorithm displayed minimal bias in its most recent NIST evaluation. Privacy advocates have sought to ban the police use of facial recognition in other parts of the world, arguing that such technologies have a disproportionate impact on marginalized groups.
Sources: The Jerusalem Post, Middle East Monitor
January 26, 2022 – by Eric Weiss