Israel’s Military Intelligence Is Using Experimental Facial Recognition Software That Misidentifies Palestinians

As the war in Gaza continues, new and shocking reports arising from The New York Times are speaking about Israel’s military intelligence using experimental software that’s wreaking havoc for Palestinians.

The military agencies are using software that misidentifies innocent Palestinians through facial recognition and therefore incorrectly labels them as members of Hamas, even though that might not be the case here.

Google Photos is also alleged to play a part in the program’s rollout but it’s not said to be related to any kind of direct link with the firm.

The feature is surveillance in nature and it began as a means to look for hostages that were Israeli in the conflict region.

Within no time, the feature underwent an expansion to rule out anyone having strong links to the Resistance Movement of Hamas or another military group as mentioned in the report. What we can confirm so far is that the technology is full of nothing but flaws and the price is being paid by Palestinians Muslims who are wrongly marked by this system.

As per the reports from intelligence officers who spoke to The New York Times, this kind of program utilizes technology arising from specific surveillance systems. It goes about correctly carrying out facial recognition despite the individual’s half being exposed. So despite angles being difficult to identify due to the dark or poor-quality surroundings detected through devices, it is believed to work.

One officer from Israel’s Unit 8200 mentioned how it was having trouble with the quality of the faces that were described as grainy in texture, filled with injuries, and also getting obscured very frequently.

There were also plenty of false positives and cases where an innocent civilian was outlined as being a terrorist for no good reason.

Three officers arising from Israel spoke to the media outlet about how the agencies were making use of Google Photos to provide the right kind of insights. They would put up data in the form of images of the person of interest on Google and then use the device’s app and search feature to find the person.

Despite the margin of error involved, they find it great as it partially matches all obscured faces in a manner that was greater than that seen for Corsight. But they were still using it because it could be customized.

For now, Google reps explained how such products are only designed to align faces through pictures that are already located inside the phone’s library.

Google Photos is a product that’s free of cost so it gets simpler to search for older images. But if the person is new, then it’s hard and impossible to give out IDs for strangers in pictures.

One of those who had been incorrectly detailed included a poet by the name of Mosb Abu Toha who explained to the New York Times how he was dragged by the Israeli forces for no reason and questioned at their checkpoint in the northern part of Gaza.

Thankfully his family was able to escape to Egypt. He was said to be tortured by having a blindfold and handcuffs put on him, not to mention constant interrogation for two whole days.

After beating him intensely, he was allowed to return. He also shed light on how soldiers before that release continued to question him and others but it was all a big error on their part, thanks to the incorrect software installed in their respective systems.

Image: DIW-Aigen

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