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Biometric Face Recognition At Your Local Mall

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the sunglass-and-disguise-hut dept.

Biotech 120

dippityfisch writes "The Sydney Morning Herald reports that face recognition is being considered at Westfield's Sydney mall to catch offenders. The identification system matches images captured by surveillance cameras to an existing database of faces. Police said they could not comment on the center's intentions, but would welcome any move to improve security and technology in the area."

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120 comments

Solution? (4, Insightful)

TheWizardTim (599546) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385580)

One possible solution that I can think of, if you want to keep your privacy, is to wear a mask. Security should not have a problem with that, right?

Re:Solution? (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385600)

  • Walk past the camera backwards.
  • Give the camera the finger (looking through the fingers)
  • Close one eye
  • Next time close the other eye
  • Wear a hat
  • Wear a jacket with a hood
  • Turn your head

etc.

Re:Solution? (4, Insightful)

ockegheim (808089) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385608)

Maybe sullen teenagers with hoodies are on to something...

Re:Solution? (2, Interesting)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386438)

Maybe sullen teenagers with hoodies are on to something...

They were onto it years ago: Mall bans shoppers' hooded tops [bbc.co.uk] .

Re:Solution? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30387882)

And that's not BY FAR the only instance, of course. My local mall won't allow hoodies, or even a cap worn backwards (the backwards cap is considered a 'gang' symbol. *chortle*). I'm about to move several hours away. I've hung out with friends in my soon-to-be locale, at the malls. They also won't allow hoodies. That's as far as I've seen. Security, though, doesn't care about ten-year-olds playin grab-ass (and crotch and chest) and making out with their hands in each others' clothes in the middle of the breezeway.

And although malls are, on a legal technicality, a grey area as far as being public or private (the entire property is private, but open to the public and exempt from any expectations of privacy) photography is forbidden, though nothing about that is posted on the entrances. So good luck taking a few snaps of you and your friends having a good time, if that segway security "officer" is anywhere around!

Re:Solution? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30385826)

In many jurisdictions (such as mine), wearing a mask in public (except in inclement weather, or as required by a medical condition) is a criminal act in itself.

Re:Solution? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385874)

Swine flu will be with us for years.

Re:Solution? (1)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386416)

Where the heck do you live so I can stay away?

Re:Solution? (0, Flamebait)

cstacy (534252) | more than 4 years ago | (#30387456)

In many jurisdictions (such as mine), wearing a mask in public (except in inclement weather, or as required by a medical condition) is a criminal act in itself.

Yes, that's a crime where I live in the US (Virginia, and probably in Maryland and DC - not sure). However, the other exception is that you can claim a religous purpose. However, it may only be Islam -- no other religions are exempted!

(Which I think is a load of PC-oh-dear-give-the-Muslims-special-rights crap, and unacceptable, obviously).

Re:Solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30385900)

Mask? You'll get crash-tackled if you forget to take your motorbike helmet off. A mask would be asking for a shitstorm.

Re:Solution? (2, Informative)

Nocterro (648910) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385926)

Over here in sleepy old Adelaide, South Australia, our Westfield guards have been known to cause deaths Security guard charged over elderly man's death [abc.net.au] . Walking into a mall with your bike helmet accidentally left on will quickly atttract a number of tall, angry men.
A mask would be asking for way more trouble than it would be worth, as it'd be taken as practically a declaration of intent to cause trouble.

Re:Solution? (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386468)

Shop somewhere else?

Re:Solution? (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30387040)

In my country it's illegal to enter a shop with your face covered. Every time I fill my motorcycle I have to remove the helmet before.

Re:Solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30387192)

Or just get new eyes, DUH

Penrith isn't in Sydney... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30385590)

...and the best algorithm to catch a crook there is to simply mark every image as a criminal. And a bogan.

Re:Penrith isn't in Sydney... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385606)

Well its in the metro area [google.com] . Bit like Dandenong here. That has a few scumbags too.

Re:Penrith isn't in Sydney... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385674)

I've lived in Melbourne for half a century, in my experience the scumbags are usually found in Toorak. ;)

Re:Penrith isn't in Sydney... (1)

strider44 (650833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385640)

Really? Did someone pick it up and move it since the last time I was there?

What the fuck? (1)

SlightOverdose (689181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385612)

Police state, here we come.

Post 9/11 America Dreams All This Stuff Up (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386110)

...but it seems like it's the Brits and Aussies who actually end up taking it seriously.

Re:What the fuck? (2, Insightful)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386426)

This isn't police state, this is police corporation. In my experience people who make comments about the big government tend to vote in politicians that don't like regulating businesses. Regulating businesses is the only way to stop police corporations. This is the opposite of a police state, this is a free state that lets the corporations do whatever they want.

Re:What the fuck? (3, Interesting)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#30387136)

This is the opposite of a police state, this is a free state that lets the corporations do whatever they want.

As someone once said: one pole isn't really all that different from the other if you're stranded there.

Extreme libertarians and extreme communists have a lot in common: they have ideology, will sacrifice anything for their ideology, consider it the perfect solution to every problem, refuse to listen to any indication that there might be a problem with it, etc etc. The end result of either ideology getting control is an economic and humanitarian disaster. The same is true of every ideology: taking a good idea too far turns it into a parody of itself. That's why people who want economic and personal freedom end up building a private police state. The state with the smallest possible government is known as a jungle, and only the biggest gorillas have freedom there, the rest having only the freedom to obey or die.

I wonder how many "libertarians don't support corporations" replies will I get? They all miss the point, of course: the shield of limited liability is not needed if you're too big for anyone to hold you liable. That's why you can't sue the government: who would enforce the judgement?

Re:What the fuck? (1)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 4 years ago | (#30387792)

I wonder how many "libertarians don't support corporations" replies will I get? They all miss the point, of course: the shield of limited liability is not needed if you're too big for anyone to hold you liable. That's why you can't sue the government: who would enforce the judgement?

You should expect more "If you don't like it you can go to another mall".

Which classically ignores that loss of privacy for "the consumer" is an externalized cost to the "mall market" and therefore will be implemented by all malls in order to compete. Mall A sets up cameras and Mall B doesn't. Mall A directly improves its profit margin because it reduces shoplifting and more/better stores want to open in Mall A. Mall B loses business because it doesn't have the better stores/variety.

Re:What the fuck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30388010)

whatever you say, idiot

Re:What the fuck? (1)

Failed Physicist (1411173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30387558)

This is the opposite of a police state, this is a free state that lets the corporations do whatever they want.

Except if the goals of these police corporations are virtually indistinguishable from the wishes of the state that lets them thrive. The resulting intimate meshing of corporations and government is then called fascism.

Re:What the fuck? (1)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 4 years ago | (#30387852)

Well not necessarily, Corporatism is more like Communism than anything. However I agree given the way things are going now a Corporate state made up of Walmart, Monsanto, Sony, TSA would be just as fascist and surveillance oriented as the worst police states you can think of.

It all comes down to what you do with it (0, Troll)

FlyMysticalDJ (1660959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385616)

I could see this actually being somewhat useful, though I admit I didn't read TFA. If you ignore the possible invasion of privacy which is kind of moot in such a public place, then if the algorithms to match faces work well enough, you could use it to identify criminals. I don't know if sex offenders are limited from being in malls with kid play areas, but if they are, that would be one good application I would stand for. Also if someone loses a child in a mall, this could make finding said child a lot easier.

Re:It all comes down to what you do with it (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385642)

I don't think tht this will be used for more than warning the security officers at mall when someone who was caught earlier for stealing comes again into mall.

Re:It all comes down to what you do with it (5, Insightful)

opposabledumbs (1434215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385660)

Ah, yes. I should have been thinking of the children all along. This erosion loss of my own right to privacy is all good, because of the benefits to the children.

No matter that most kids are abused at their home or in the home of another family member or close family friend. Let's put security cams up in the mall. That'll solve it.

But seriously now, I'm not sure about the implications of these things: would a mall count as public or private? Generally, you wouldn't be allowed to take photos in a mall because it's private property, and they're obviously allowed to take photos of you, because they own the joint. However, what would Joe Public be able to do if he was flagged as a criminal through a false positive?

I'd be pretty pissed if some fool tasered me while I was grocery shopping on a Saturday morning 'cos the camera erroneously ID'd me as the local pedobear or whatever...

Re:It all comes down to what you do with it (1)

mayko (1630637) | more than 4 years ago | (#30387172)

IANAL, but as far as I understand in the US, malls and department stores cannot physically restrain you or hold you against your will. They are not the police. If they have damning evidence that you were engaging in criminal activities they can get the police, but I don't think they can arrest you or even stop you from leaving. (I am assuming for things like shoplifting, or destruction of property... not fiddling a kid in aisle 3)

As far as being erroneously flagged as a criminal... well I hope they call the police to do the police work, and then I hope the police ask a few questions before they fire the taser barbs into your back... although I'm doubtful lately.

Re:It all comes down to what you do with it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30388078)

In American *legal theory*, that might be the case. However, in realistic terms, no judge will acquit a shoplifting charge (or robbery charge if the arrestee wrestles with mall security) just by this alone. Even if the arrestee in reality had no items on them, rest assured that loss prevention will find an item that they were attempting to leave with. Even if the item was residing on a shelf in the store.

I have seen mall security swoop down on people, tackle them to the ground and cuff them for criminal trespass when someone they had on their blacklist list entered a store. With these stupid facial recognition cameras, I'm almost certain there will be tons of false positives, so someone who has never been out of California would get a mouthful of floor tile and be hauled off to jail because their face was falsely recognized as a shoplifter out of Miami.

Re:It all comes down to what you do with it (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385684)

If you ignore the possible invasion of privacy which is kind of moot in such a public place

I find fault with that logic. You wear clothes in public, don't you? That's privacy in a public place, it clearly exists. Being automatically identified by a computer, WOULD eventually be used to track you between destinations and WOULD eventually be used for things which are not at all security related (such as in minority report, vending machines calling to you personally.) You can and will lose your privacy in public and in private if this shit continues.

If you were being facetious, you need to be a little less subtle, or else it's just borderline trolling.

Re:It all comes down to what you do with it (5, Funny)

laederkeps (976361) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385890)

You wear clothes in public, don't you?

Yes, but only because last time I tried not to, they put my face in their database.

Re:It all comes down to what you do with it (1)

uberdilligaff (988232) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386486)

That's not all they put in their database.

Re:It all comes down to what you do with it (1)

rapidmax (707233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386752)

Yes, but only because last time I tried not to, they put my face in their database.

Only your face?

Re:It all comes down to what you do with it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30385808)

I am sorry but by mindlessly parroting the "fro teh chrildren!!!1" arguments you automatically disqualified yourself from any reasonable debate.

Have a seat and wait for the corrupt politician of the day to give you a pat on the back for being a good yes-man citizen.

Re:It all comes down to what you do with it (1)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386434)

Except for the number of sex offenders who slept with their 15 year old gf when they were 17. If sex offender status is going to be taken seriously we need to stop throwing the status at young couples. Until then, it's a mark that says "I might have done something bad." but so is being human.

Re:It all comes down to what you do with it (2, Insightful)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386780)

Are you seriously suggesting it's a good idea that anyone who has ever shoplifted should never be let near a shopping centre ever again in their life? In your think of the children rant did it ever occur to you that giving people who are in a position to abuse their authority tools to track and observe a childs every move is a terrible idea? Do you want your child to be living in a panopticon?

Re:It all comes down to what you do with it (4, Insightful)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#30387282)

If you ignore the possible invasion of privacy which is kind of moot in such a public place, then if the algorithms to match faces work well enough, you could use it to identify criminals.

There's a difference between "someone might see me" and "someone is watching my every move". The latter is stalking, and we have laws against stalkers. And I don't think "officer, I stalked him just in case he happened to be a criminal" would fly in court.

I don't know if sex offenders are limited from being in malls with kid play areas, but if they are, that would be one good application I would stand for.

I don't. I can understand why such people might be banned from working as kindergarden teachers or other positions requiring trust, but banning them from shops because there might be children in the same building is just ridiculous. The whole "sex offender" thing is nowadays simply used as an excuse to bully a socially accepted target; I find the practice every bit as disgusting as rape.

Not that being a "sex offender" has anything to do with rape, or even with sex; you can get on the list for urinating in public.

Also if someone loses a child in a mall, this could make finding said child a lot easier.

Think of the chiiildren!

Ironically enough, without the whole "sex offender" hysteria lost children would probably be escorted to security personnel, who would then find the parents. Instead everyone will steer clear of them for fear of being accused of being a "predator", the accusation being sufficient to get them inserted into the sex offender registry and apparently banned from malls forever, as well as being subjected to any arbitrary punishment someone who "thinks of the children" can come up with.

Re:It all comes down to what you do with it (2, Insightful)

JohnFen (1641097) | more than 4 years ago | (#30388012)

I don't know if sex offenders are limited from being in malls with kid play areas, but if they are, that would be one good application I would stand for.

Considering how easy it is to get on the sex offender list without being any sort of danger to children (or anyone else), I'm not so sure that would be a good thing.

Welcome.... (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385622)

.... to the Panopticon. Where everything you do, can and will be tracked.

Re:Welcome.... (1)

mitashki (1116893) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385680)

It's more like "Welcome to the Westfield's Sydney mall where we treat all our customers as potential offenders."

It's private property people ... (2, Insightful)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385638)

I don't know about Australia, but malls in the US are private property. They can and will issue a no trespass order against anybody who causes them problems (shoplifters mostly).

If you don't want to be entered into their surveillance system don't shop at their mall.

It's their property they can do what they want with it. It's no different from me running facial recognition against people who walk up my stairs. (which i dont do btw..)

Re:It's private property people ... (3, Insightful)

crazybit (918023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385670)

It's their property they can do what they want with it. It's no different from me running facial recognition against people who walk up my stairs. (which i dont do btw..)

No, they can't. People's rights must be respected even in private property, that's why local bars can't install cameras on girls bathrooms. You can install facial recognition, but people can still walk on the street with glasses and a hat.

Re:It's private property people ... (1, Insightful)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385698)

No, they can't. People's rights must be respected even in private property, that's why local bars can't install cameras on girls bathrooms. You can install facial recognition, but people can still walk on the street with glasses and a hat.

The only reason local bars cannot install cameras in the girls bathroom is the expectation of privacy. When you go to the mall you have no expectation of privacy outside of the bathroom.

The mall is perfectly within their rights to require people not wear disguises in the mall as well.

Re:It's private property people ... (1)

crazybit (918023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385830)

I know they can install cameras if they want, I was talking about the assumption that people "can do what they want with their property".

Also, wearing glasses and a hat (more than enough for breaking most facial recognition software) should not be considered a disguise, many people use them (together or separately) as part of their "look". Don't know in the US, but in my country there are anti-discrimination laws that protect the right of people to enter a establishment regardless the clothes they wear / color of skin / etc.

Re:It's private property people ... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30385850)

When you go to the mall you have no expectation of privacy outside of the bathroom.

Or maybe in changing rooms or phone booths or ...

How about they have a guard follow you around watching your every move at close range, listening in on your every conversation, making notes of everything you touch, everything you buy and so on. That's ok too? How about random searches of your bags? After all, you might have stolen something and you're on their private property.

The whole "no expectation of privacy in public" is nonsense. Just because you are in a public space shouldn't mean it's ok to protocol your every move, word and thought and store it in some database.

Just wait till thought/feeling reading gets perfected. Hey it's a public place so we can record all your brainwaves. Yes yes of course, such technology will never come. Good for us.

Re:It's private property people ... (1)

cc1984_ (1096355) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386132)

How about they have a guard follow you around watching your every move at close range, listening in on your every conversation, making notes of everything you touch, everything you buy and so on. That's ok too? How about random searches of your bags? After all, you might have stolen something and you're on their private property.

That's absolutely fine. I had something similar to that happen to me in a supermarket (a security guy following me around for no reason other than the color of my shoelaces.)

No problem at all. I just walked out. I'm not obliged to be there.

Re:It's private property people ... (1)

BotnetZombie (1174935) | more than 4 years ago | (#30387576)

Just wait till thought/feeling reading gets perfected

That's when BotnetZombie's Tinfoil Productions will finally become profittable.

Re:It's private property people ... (1)

bronney (638318) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386182)

I know you don't mean it like that but that cracked my up hehehe. Last time I was in a mall I saw mickey mouse walking around hehehe.

Re:It's private property people ... (1)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386334)

Hum... If people didn't have any expectation of privacy in the mall, why are they suddenly complaining that their privacy is being violated?

        -d.

Re:It's private property people ... (2, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30387582)

The only reason local bars cannot install cameras in the girls bathroom is the expectation of privacy. When you go to the mall you have no expectation of privacy outside of the bathroom.

Says who? Remember, you said "It's their property they can do what they want with it." You never qualified that with expectations of privacy.

The point is that there's no black and white issue here. Anyone can assert that you either do or don't have an "expectation of privacy" in a particular location - you're just making it up as you go along.

You first made the argument "It's their property they can do what they want with it." - the example of the bathrooms shows that this isn't true. So do you now concede that you are wrong? If so, what is your argument?

Re:It's private property people ... (3, Informative)

dugeen (1224138) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386404)

Absolutely. Malls have an implied invitation to the general public to enter - and their rights come in with them. 'Private property' isn't a law-free zone even in a capitalist analysis.

Re:It's private property people ... (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 4 years ago | (#30387412)

but people can still walk on the street with glasses and a hat.

actually, you can't. seriously! that could be considered 'going out in disguise'. pretty sure that's illegal. in our 'new constitution' (the one we really use; not the 200+ yr old paper version) its illegal to hide your identity in public. (go check, I'm not kidding).

not sure how the halloween thing is allowed, but if you check the laws, its often illegal to cover up your identity in certain (many?) public situations. boggle! but its true.

some countries even outlawed skimasks in public. even ON skiing slopes! some malasia (?) country had a guy 'do bad things' in a ski mask and so they outlawed ski masks!

Re:It's private property people ... (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385704)

If you don't want to be entered into their surveillance system don't shop at their mall.

And when every business participates in a facial ID program to help stop theft, the excuse will be "it's private property and everyone else does it." When cities start putting facial ID systems in public places the excuses will be "It's to help catch bad people, and anyway it already happens every place you go into, so we might as well connect it all and know where you are at all times."

Maybe that won't happen, but why the hell are we letting them risk it? This is to catch "thieves?" Give me a break. That's a stupid reason to start this crap.

Re:It's private property people ... (1, Interesting)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385730)

And when every business participates in a facial ID program to help stop theft, the excuse will be "it's private property and everyone else does it." When cities start putting facial ID systems in public places the excuses will be "It's to help catch bad people, and anyway it already happens every place you go into, so we might as well connect it all and know where you are at all times."

Maybe that won't happen, but why the hell are we letting them risk it? This is to catch "thieves?" Give me a break. That's a stupid reason to start this crap.

Great, start your own store and cater to those who dont want to be filmed while shopping. Either you'll get rich or you'll get robbed blind, either way you'll have figured out how most people feel.

Re:It's private property people ... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385864)

First off, I'm busy with biological research, loftier goals, I won't be starting my own store. Second, plenty... no wait... the vast majority of stores out there don't use this and manage to not be robbed out of business. Third, one or even several stores won't change much. If these systems get convenient and cheap enough for stores to implement, and they think they can prevent enough loss to pay for the system, it's going to be in their interests to all implement systems like this. They don't care about privacy issues, which is fine, but we do need to establish laws preventing this, to balance their interests with our interests.

Last, I don't give a flying crap how most people feel. This is idiotic no matter how many idiots are okay with it

Re:It's private property people ... (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386022)

If it is in your interest not to be under surveillance while shopping then you will shop at a store which does not put you under surveillance, that store will do better and it's competitors will fail.

But lets be real, 99% of the population could not care less that someone is watching them shop and as such the stores really don't care that you don't like it.

Re:It's private property people ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30386954)

Disingenuous. A lot of people do care, and would be annoyed if they were aware of what was happening. But they won't be, and even if they are aware of it, they won't care enough to exert a competitive pressure against the stores using it. Especially if it gets widespread quickly. That doesn't mean it's right to do this, though. A law banning this sort of surveillance would probably have some decent popular support, but it'll never happen because people don't care enough to make it an issue, and the shitty voting system makes it impossible for small things like this to be handled democratically.

You're wrong. People do care. But they care more about being able to shop at Walmart.

Re:It's private property people ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30386374)

No. You are denied to rent a store.

Here in Sweden, you are mandated to have an insurance -- for instance so it covers the losses of neighbouring units in case of a fire in your unit. This even if there is no neighbouring unit. However, insurance companies refuse to give you an insurance unless you have camera surveillance. You know, so they can catch you in the act putting your unit on fire to claim insurance or smth...

Many storeowners have complained about this. The goverments response: relax the required privacy considerations for camera surveillance, so stores don't have to worry so much when installing...

Of course 95% of the voters don't care. They do not even know that little black bulb is a camera, or that computers can identify you. Or that strange machine they were required to stand in to get their photo ID did a biometric scan on their face, just for the purpose of machine identification..

Re:It's private property people ... (2, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30387602)

I'll start my own store, but what good does that do me if all the malls are owned by private companies? My customers will be subject to their rules whether I want them to or not, because they have to walk through the mall to reach my store.

Re:It's private property people ... (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385816)

IANAAL (I am not an Australian Lawyer) but I believe shopping centres and other retail premises are designated as public places. Because of this people can not be excluded for arbitrary reasons. If this was not the case it would be possible to throw people out for any reason at all (possibly in contravention of anti-discrimination laws) and say it was because we thought they looked like a criminal.

I think the best Westfield can do in this case is follow the suspects around either physically or on CCTV and wait for them to put a foot wrong. Either that or get a court order to keep them out but that would be short term and fairly expensive to obtain.

Re:It's private property people ... (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386032)

I don't know about Australia, but in the US malls are only public places until they file a no trespass order with the local police. Then the mall becomes off limits to that individual. I'm also fairly certain that they can throw out anybody they want, as long as they do not single out protected groups.

Re:It's private property people ... (-1, Troll)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386006)

Yeah right, because on their property, laws have no meaning and vanish, right?

So they can rape you in the ass with a chainsaw from when you enter, until you leave. And never let you leave. All legal.

Riiiiiight... ^^

Stop being stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30386116)

The situation described in the summary is very different to you running facial recognition against people who walk up your stairs.

The shopping mall is a place where the public have been encouraged to go and spend their money. If it had been made clear right from the start that those entering the establishment would be logged and entered on a database, the business might not have got off the ground.

The announcement has been made only after the services available at the mall have grown to become a central part of many people's lives. The owner, whether they like it or not, has acquired increased responsibilities regarding the privacy and data retention issues.

What they do and how they do it is very much in the public domain.

What you photograph in the privacy of your own home is your business. Just don't let anyone catch you doing it in the mall.

Re:It's private property people ... (2, Funny)

Peaker (72084) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386338)

With this attitude, anyone wanting to keep their privacy and basic rights is pretty much stuck at home -- with a tin foil hat.

Re:It's private property people ... (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30387550)

In which case, there's a problem if vast swathes of open land are actually privately owned, with no way of public access.

If a shop owner doesn't want me in his shop, fine. But if the land owner who grants access to all the shops decides to refuse me permission onto the land - even though the shops might want my custom - that's a problem. It's no better than a troll stopping people walking across his bridge - even if it is his bridge, it's a problem if all your bridges are owned by trolls.

There are various ways round this, for example right of way laws (in the UK in some cases, people have a right of access, even if you own the land - it stops people buying up a load of land and blocking access), or simply regulating the amount of land in shopping areas that can be sold privately. The local authorities regulate all sorts of other things, such as who can sell alcohol, or needing planning permission to build - the idea that the authorities should sit by and let people's ability to access shops selling basic necessities be taken away, just because "it's a private corporation", seems mad.

It's no different from me running facial recognition against people who walk up my stairs. (which i dont do btw..)

It's not at all the same. We don't consider all "private" lands to be equal - there are all sorts of laws that apply in "private" areas such as shops (e.g., no smoking bans, discrimination laws, employment laws), that would never apply in your private home.

Media bias? (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385646)

Wow. I'm not familiar with "Sydney morning herald" so I'm not sure what I was expecting, but they certainly didn't meet it.

Half: "Police say this is great!"
Maybe a third: "Besides, it's already being used and you didn't even know it, so it can't be bad!"

And then: "Some academic loon has his panties in a twist over this"

Quickly followed by: "Another professor... of various more important things... says it should be used more though."

Australia often makes me feel better about the US. Right now, they're making me realize that as bad as Fox news is, it could get somewhat worse.

Re:Media bias? (3, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385746)

The SMH is one of our better rags, however like all newspapers it does print some syndicated stories [google.com.au] verbatim. It also has the occasional wacko in the editorial pages to stir up contraversy (I'm looking at you Ms Devine).

The SMH is owned by the Fairfax group, funny you should mention Fox News because Howden [zoominfo.com] is actually employed by News Corp, not Fairfax.

Re:Media bias? (2, Interesting)

lbft (950835) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386156)

I don't know what planet you're from, but this seems to me a fairly unremarkable canvassing of opinions on the topic without editorial comment. The format of the article goes:

Introduction
Police opinion
Westfield uses some words and says nothing
Australian Privacy Foundation opinion
Contextualisation
Professor Maciej Henneberg's opinion

Just because you don't agree with the opinions doesn't make the article biased, it makes those people wrong in your view (and in mine). But you can't deny that their opinions are relevant to the issue - the police, a privacy advocate group and an academic. The only failure on the part of the journalist is the selection of the academic they spoke to, who according to a quick search is in the field of biological anthropology and anatomy.

Re:Media bias? (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386344)

Murdoch is Australian-born.

I worked there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30385666)

Wow, what a coincidence, I use to work/jointly-run a business in that shopping centre and crime wasn't that much of a problem to require measures such as this. Only thing I remember is an argument or so popping up around the movie theatres on the second floor every now and then or medical emergencies. Have to say it was a nicer place compared to other Malls.
Still, with the money they make from the leases (absolutely crazy expensive) I suppose this is just going to be a marketable attribute they can add to their brochures.

"Existing database of faces"...? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385702)

Are we talkin' paparazzi photos here, then? I'm sure the celebs Down Under will really appreciate being outed in public like that when they're just tryin' to blend in!

Re:"Existing database of faces"...? (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385760)

Photos taken when people are busted shoplifting probably.

Re:"Existing database of faces"...? (2, Funny)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386018)

But what if it's Lindsay Lohan doing the shoplifting?

Re:"Existing database of faces"...? (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386042)

Are you serious? She is a public figure, at least under US law she is legally allowed to be basically stalked by people with cameras.

Re:"Existing database of faces"...? (3, Funny)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386066)

No, I wasn't being serious, but thanks for asking!

How worthwhile is this, actually? (3, Informative)

xmundt (415364) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385718)

Greetings and salutations...
          Here is an interesting study that indicates that the chances of a false positive are fairly great, especially in a chaotic setting:
http://www.rand.org/pubs/documented_briefings/DB396/DB396.pdf

          One might wave this off as inconsequential, until one gets a security escort in the mall because their face happens to resemble that of a pedophile or thief.
          Automating enforcement is a tricky thing, and, should be approached with great caution. We should not hop on the train simply because it is new, and shiny, and a sales person has taken us out for a multiple martini lunch!

          Of course, this is a USA-centric view, where at least we have the historical documents that are SUPPOSED to protect the citizens against abuse of one's civil rights by the authorities... You folks out in the rest of the world...well....learn from the fact that over the past eight years or so, that, in spite of the Constitution, America has taken many large and troubling steps towards a Kafa-esque police state.
          Pleasant dreams.
          Dave Mundt

Re:How worthwhile is this, actually? (2, Funny)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385858)

"Automating enforcement is a tricky thing"

This is automated survailence. We are working on a robo mall cop but as you say, it's a tricky thing. The prototype blew away our board of directors and then threw itself down the stairwell. Of course the upside to that minor glitch is we now have more money to spend on the robots.

Re:How worthwhile is this, actually? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30386518)

Ah, Hitler would of loved modern society. It has become everything he could of ever hoped for.

Re:How worthwhile is this, actually? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30386854)

Strangely enough his modern day fans think they're living in a miserable hellish Zionist dystopia where the white man is kept a poor and ignorant minimum wage slave by the evil global Jewish new world order conspiracy, not the fact that nobody wants to hire a bald jackbooted freak with SNIKS carved on his forehead.

Re:How worthwhile is this, actually? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30385870)

People on slashdot have been saying that for years and nobody did anything about it.

Video Surveillance is Useless (4, Informative)

S3D (745318) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385726)

Video Surveillance is Useless [uwa.edu.au] Presentation from prominent computer vision researcher, inventor of phase correlation method [wikipedia.org] It basically saying, that on current tech level video surveillance is useless for face identification. What follow is that it's actually harmful, due to wrong impression of it's reliability.

Re:Video Surveillance is Useless (1)

g3k0 (1697032) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386962)

2006? That's almost 4 years ago. In 2006 Face recognition software was rated 10 times better than 2002 and 100 times better than 1995. So if that trend continued it should be 10 times better than when that article was written. PA and other states have successfully used it in catching identity thieves apply for licenses. I would write more or backup my claims, but I have a plane to catch.

Sounds like a good reason not to shop there. (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385820)

One false positive can ruin your whole day, week, or life.

-jcr

Re:Sounds like a good reason not to shop there. (1)

Tibia1 (1615959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385970)

And all the while the only thing they want to fix are the false negatives (missing the real bad guys).

Re:Sounds like a good reason not to shop there. (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 4 years ago | (#30387522)

Oh, I'm sure there's some law some where you inadvertently broke that they can fine or arrest you for.

Only criminals shop at places without facial recognition.

Marketing Ploy (1)

seven of five (578993) | more than 4 years ago | (#30387780)

No, they're counting on the false positives. Then you get a coupon for 10% off anything in the mall.

Waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30385842)

Why don't they just chip and track us all? That would solve a lot of crimes.

Who the hell goes to malls anyways? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30385982)

That's so 1998. Only poor people who can't afford Internet, and idiots who can't figure out how to buy stuff online are the ones there.

*any* move? Yeah, exactly. (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30385996)

...but would welcome any move to improve security and technology in the area.

Then let’s just kill all life in the area and fill it with self-replicating evolving robots! That is a 100% sure shot to improve security and technology.

You said *any* move!
Don’t lie and act as if that was not exactly the direction you were thinking of.

Police welcome techno-police state. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30386064)

Police should care about protecting citizens, or in case of a mall, customers, not welcoming deployment of as much privacy invading technology as possible in the name of "security". Technology doesn't equal security; it gives people the creeps, making them feel unsure and might very well result in them becoming more aggressive, not less. So, more technology is called for, because the cops can't be expected to actually get out in the street (mall) and engage in some old fashioned police work. Which is not, I appear to have to remind them, to kick or kill random people then claim "resisting arrest", or even to arrest people just so you can swab dna and then forget to file charges, or file some bogus charges only to drop them later.

Policing is very much a social job, even if it is that of a social janitor, putting a lid on people doing bad stuff to each other. Technology in itself is not a solution to people problems, and in many cases trying to deploy it like that is worse than the ailment. Mark these police guys and the mall management both down for a big fat FAIL.

Know your rights. Stand up for yourself. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30386190)

In the UK at least nobody can arrest or detain you unless they have reasonable grounds to do so. The fact that their system sounds an alarm is unlikely to be sufficient grounds if that alarm often gives false positives (goes off when no offence has been committed). If they do detain you and you have not committed a crime you can sue and will probably win the case.

From time to time a security guard asks if they can look in my bag because an alarm has gone off at the exit. If they ask politely and make it clear that they are asking me to help them, I sometimes let them look. If they speak to me as though I must comply, I refuse and walk on. If they persist, I tell them to arrest me if they believe I have stolen anything but that I will sue them if they do.

I have always been allowed to leave and nobody has looked inside my bag without my agreement.

It saddens me to see apparently respectable people submit to the public humiliation of a search, in the apparent belief that the security staff have the right to require it.

The shopping mall security staff might be able to ask you to leave but they cannot arrest you for a breach of their arbitrary rules unless those rules are backed up by law.

Stand up for yourself.

Get ugly! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30386302)

I seem to remember a Judge Dredd story in which it became fashionable to be surgically altered to have exactly the same face as everyone else. Obviously this frustrated the ultra-fascist police force of the comics.

While cosmetic surgery isn't yet so causal a procedure in the real world as to make this a realistic scenario (although perhaps it isn't so very far away) I wonder what could be done with stage prosthetics and make-up.

If nothing else, the ultra-fascism is coming closer and closer to reality every day.
In the meantime, I'll just leave this here: http://cache.boston.com/resize/bonzai-fba/Globe_Photo/2008/02/10/1202700672_7670/539w.jpg

Theft vs Privacy (1)

Thyamine (531612) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386822)

I'm not a fan for these types of things in general, with the standard privacy concerns most people are listing. On the other side of it, my wife was a manager for several years at a retail chain at the mall, and they often had problems with shoplifting given the size of their products (bath and, you know, body products). They were required to try and maintain as little theft as possible of course, but they were given no support up the chain and were not allowed to confront/ask/suggest that someone was doing anything along those lines. And if they did, corporate would not support them and always support the customer because the store needs to be as customer friendly as possible of course.

Something like this could help with those problems where known shoplifters are meandering the mall. Store managers, as well as mall and store security personnel, already tend to share this information among themselves by stopping by each other's stores or calling over, but if you are the first store they visit it could be a heads up. Just playing Devil's Advocate a bit, even though I dislike the idea in general.

Face Recognition = damn near useless (1)

Qlither (1614211) | more than 4 years ago | (#30386838)

Face Recognition is one of those great sale pitches from the same guy that also tries to hack cloud computing to you. This post just tells me, there are still fools out there that fall for it.

"The identification system matches images..." (1)

fluch (126140) | more than 4 years ago | (#30387342)

"The identification system matches images captured by surveillance cameras to an existing database of faces." ... and the whole thing is meant to fail.

The system will create a huge amount of false positives which in turn will make a lot of innocent customers annoyed and cause them to never come back. On the other hand it is quite likely that it will not catch any of the people in the database. Which will be an epic fail!

Re:"The identification system matches images..." (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 4 years ago | (#30387850)

There is a large shopping mall in Birmingham, UK that uses face recognition. It also uses RFID and collects details of who these people are when they make a transaction using a credit or debit card. System copes with over 1 million in footfall each week.

I bet you still can't take photos (1)

Lemming Mark (849014) | more than 4 years ago | (#30387394)

And I bet the mall owners state "privacy" as the reason and can't see the irony. Classy.

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