Page 152 - Security Today, July/August 2018
P. 152

If the suspect's photograph and details had been enrolled in a school face recognition database, could lives have been saved?
Technology companies are typically con- tacted by enterprises with expensive prob- lems that need solving again and again. For example, retailers need to identify shoplifters and other criminals on a daily basis across many locations, and face recognition offers large chains massive ROI as well as safer stores. Increasingly, however, the number of concerned administrators, security person- nel, campus police and even parents looking to use technology and face recognition to supplement school security has grown.
Face recognition technology has been around, in one form or another, since the 1960s. Start- ing around 2011, it reached the point where it was fast enough and accurate enough to pro- vide actionable intelligence about persons of interest in real time.
Although many situations play out like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, not all do. What is certain is that in a mass shooting or any other violent crime situation, every sec- ond is vital. The sooner that armed security or law enforcement officials are notified, the bet- ter chance there is to save lives.
In a campus situation, entrances can be monitored by inexpensive HD cameras post- ed at distances up to 100 feet. Artificial intel- ligence automatically scores the facial imag- es captured from live video, selecting the exact angle, facial expression and lighting before matching it against a database at a rate of 25 million images per second. Speed is essential, as match alerts will be automati- cally routed to campus security or other per- sonnel as needed.
Depending on the type of person matched, face recognition systems can also automati- cally determine whether to alert others, such as teachers, professors or even law enforce- ment. Match confidence scores can also determine who receives alerts. For example, some organizations only want to be notified on matches with at least a 95 percent confi- dence score.
If such a system had existed in Parkland, it might have included disgruntled former employees, expelled students and even banned parents. Based on everything we know now, it would have also certainly included the shoot- er. The moment he appeared on a face recog- nition-equipped surveillance camera, the sys- tem would have then alerted an armed school police officer or security guard.
For such a system to work, school person- nel would be trained on how to interpret mobile alerts, how to approach matched per- sons depending on various scenarios, and more. The training is actually the easy part. Based on experience with retailers and public safety officials, training is easily completed within a half day.
While K-12 schools are increasingly look- ing to face recognition surveillance as a safety solution, facial recognition also presents col- leges and universities with a means of pro- tecting campuses and school events. As San Francisco University has found, face recogni- tion can be used to ensure that only autho- rized students and personnel are admitted to dorm rooms or school buildings. The tech- nology can also be used to instantly recognize when a known sex offender or violent crimi- nal enters campus grounds.
Facial recognition can also be used to secure school sporting events. Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for fans to exhibit violent or dangerous behavior at games. As just one example, at one popular tailgating spot for Nebraska football, law enforcement had to clear around 3,000 people off the property due to unruly behavior prior to the start of a game against University of Miami. Close to two dozen people were arrested. Even if the University banned those individuals from returning, it’s nearly impossible to enforce that ban. But face recognition can typically recognize banned fans, despite hats, glasses, facial hair or other changes in appearance.
To understand why face recognition is neces- sary for protecting public spaces, look no fur- ther than human memory. The human brain was simply not designed to memorize names and details about a large list of strangers. Robin Dunbar, an esteemed evolutionary anthropologist at Oxford University, posits that the upper limit of faces that human beings can match with names is 1,500.
FaceFirst recently conducted a survey that asked whether those tasked with guarding airports and public attractions would be able to remember the names and faces of individu- als that posed a threat. Seventy-seven percent said no, and it’s easy to see why. Even a truly gifted security professional can’t possibly be expected to instantly recognize every indi- vidual that may pose a public safety threat, including all relevant details and the best course of action to take. This is certainly true at K-12 schools, but doubly true of guards tasked with protecting large university cam- puses and college sporting events.
While it remains to be seen whether political solutions will help decrease school shootings, one thing is for sure: progress in the political realm will be a long and slow
process. Fortunately, we have the technology to start saving lives right now.
Peter Trepp is the CEO of FaceFirst.

   150   151   152   153   154