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The recent “Yellow Vest” riots in Paris bring into mind the potential power of the combination of high-resolution digital video capture of protesters and facial recognition technology. India is currently looking for a combination of video analytics and facial recognition at Delhi airport to nab wanted culprits fleeing the country, as well as at the Delhi metro which some 2.8 million passengers every day, according to indiatoday.in.

Two game-changing technologies – working together – perhaps underpin the greatest tool for policing the world over: High-resolution digital video capture and facial recognition.

New technologies in the realm of full-color night-vision video capture and advanced infrared heat-based body and face mapping lie the basis of radically better tools for associating captured maleficence to an individual. Combined with the work being done with infrared facial recognition, and we’ll soon find that scarfs, balaclavas, or even helmets will cease to protect the identity of the perpetrator.

What are the consequences of this technological quantum leap? The Paris riots reflect the potential that group protest actions will become individually attributable. While the face of the perpetrator may not initially be tied to an identity, a portfolio of digital captures can be compiled and (at some future date) associated with the named individual.

Many metropolitan police forces are already able to real-time track a surveilled individual or entity through their networked cameras. In addition, some police forces have already

combined such capabilities with facial recognition to quickly spot wanted individuals or suspects in crowds and track their movements across cameras in real-time.


As securityboulevard.com evaluates, the density and prevalence of cameras is expected to grow. AI technology already enables us to intelligently stitch together all the video content and construct a historical trail for any person or physical entity. So in the near future, police forces could track (both forward and reverse in time) each suspect – identifying not only the history of travel and events preceding the crime but also their origination (e.g. home) address.

Obviously, such a capability would also facilitate the capture of facial images of the suspect before they donned any masks or facial obfuscation tools they used during the protest or crime.

With the increasing resolution of digital video cameras and the improvement expected in facial recognition accuracy, more personal traits and characteristics will be accurately inferred.

Studies of human movement and tooling for life-like movements in digital movies naturally lend to the ability to identify changes in an individual’s movements and infer certain things. For example, being able to guess the relative weight and flexibility of contents within a backpack being worn by the surveilled individual, the presence of heavy objects being carried within a suit jacket, or changes in contents of a bag carried in-hand.

Such technologies are not exclusive to police forces and government departments. It is inevitable that these technologies will also be leveraged by civilians and criminals alike – bringing a rather new dynamic to future policing.