I’m sure I saw this movie. It was either Jason Bourne or Ethan Hunt or one of the X-Men, and they were walking through a bus terminal or an airport… sorry, the scenario does tend to run together because it’s a bone-chilling concept. Our beloved character is trying to blend in with the crowd, only the bad guys (re: someone from the government, actually) are tracking him via facial recognition software.
Of course our hero gets away, but it’s no thanks to the software that’s trying to pick him out of the crowd. But this isn’t the stuff of action movies anymore; this technology does exist and it’s being put in place in these very kinds of locations.
One of the latest cities to bring facial recognition software on board is Dallas, Texas, whose DART mass transit system has long suffered without so much as security cameras in many of its high-traffic locations. Now, with the installation of closed-circuit cameras to monitor passenger safety, the city is going one step further by planning on incorporating facial recognition software, presumably to watch for wanted criminals or head off any suspicious activity.
In order to avoid accusations that this is a little too much like the aforementioned action movies, it’s important to note that the software may be wholly ineffective. According to the Dallas News‘ transportation blog, DART’s software will not cross-reference faces against any police databases or watch lists. Instead, it will only pick up on faces that the transportation authority entered into its own database. So far, the only uses DART has come up with for this software are to catch known fare evaders (yes, people who’ve been banned from the city’s transportation system for hopping the turnstiles), and the more useful application of searching for wanted or missing persons that the police have issued bulletins for.