NEC Corporation of America is celebrating another strong performance on the part of its NeoFace facial recognition technology in the Department of Homeland Security’s annual Biometric Technology Rally.
The testing round was conducted in September of 2022, with results now confirming NEC’s leading position. In a statement, the company said its NeoFace solution achieved “a perfect match rate of 100 percent for various racial demographics tested,” adding later that it has demonstrated a 99.8 percent ‘true identification rate’ through most biometric acquisition devices.
The DHS first launched its Biometric Technology Rally in 2018, seeking to provide a third party assessment of vendors’ solutions on a voluntary basis. Organized by the DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), the Rally has become a key venue for biometrics specialists looking to prove their prowess, with the latest event having tested facial recognition solutions in environments designed to mimic real-world settings such as airports.
The 2022 Rally’s validation of NeoFace’s capabilities echoes findings from another independent body, the United Kingdom’s National Physical Laboratory, which was asked by the Metropolitan Police Service and the South Wales Police to conduct an assessment of NeoFace so they could better understand its accuracy and potential disparities between different demographic groups. The NPL recently delivered its formal report, which found no statistically significant discrepancy in NeoFace’s accuracy between different ethnicities and genders when used at the default settings.
The NPL did find a statistically significant racial disparity in NeoFace’s accuracy when they lowered its threshold setting to consider more faces for a potential match; but conversely, the racial disparity was eliminated at higher threshold settings.
All told, the NPL findings were taken as validation by the law enforcement bodies that requested the Laboratory’s testing. South Wales Police Chief Constable Jeremy Vaughan asserted that the NPL’s confirmation that NeoFace does not discriminate “reinforces my long-standing belief that the use of facial recognition technology is a force for good and will help us keep the public safe and assist us in identifying serious offenders in order to protect our communities from individuals who pose significant risks.”
NEC echoed the sentiment in its new announcement concerning NeoFace’s performance in the Biometric Technology Rally, asserting that it “achieved top matching system rankings in addition to showing no demographic differentials for those self-reporting their race as Black, Asian or White.”
The company’s technology is already widely used by government agencies beyond the UK’s Met and South Wales Police, with the NPL and DHS evaluations poised to help NEC further make its case to organizations considering the use of facial recognition technology.
April 20, 2023 – by Alex Perala