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The police force of Dubai will soon be equipped with crime-fighting face recognition technology via Google Glass, according to Reuters. The software, “developed by Dubai police would enable a connection between the wearer and a database of wanted people,” Reuters reports.
Slate reports that initially the Dubai police department will go through a pilot phase where the technology will be purely used for tracking traffic offenses, looking for offending vehicles, but “if that goes well, Glass will be distributed to detectives for the facial recognition program.”
Google has so far steered clear from making facial recognition part of its software, stating back in 2013 that “we won’t add facial recognition features to our products without having strong privacy protections in place. With that in mind, we won’t be approving any facial recognition Glassware at this time.”
But as TechHive points out, this “doesn’t preclude developers from creating their own software and sideloading it onto the device.” The site goes on to highlight apps such as NameTag, which offer just such features without passing Google’s privacy test, but open to developers.
Dubai won’t be the first police force to consider the option of Google Glass in fighting crime, with the New York Police Department trialling the wearable back in February this year. “We signed up, got a few pairs of the Google glasses, and we’re trying them out, seeing if they have any value in investigations, mostly for patrol purposes,” a member of the NYPD told VentureBeat at the time.
Although $1,500 per wearable (the price that Glass retails for currently in the US) may seem expensive, the Dubai police force has been known to spend freely on its officers: last year, the Gulf capital stated it would be supplying its police with $400,000 Lamborghini sports cars.
Hattanas Kumchai / Shutterstock.com
Author Alan Martin, ESET