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Calgary police adopt facial recognition software

By Katy Atherholt, November 13 2014 —

This November, the Calgary Police Service (CPS) became the first North American police force to implement a new facial recognition software called NeoFace Reveal.

NeoFace matches photos of suspects to the CPS database of previously arrested people.

At a CPS press conference, inspector Rosemary Hawkins said the facial recognition software has taken two-and-a-half years and $500,000 to implement.

NEC Corporation, a Japanese company that developed the software, had a representative at the CPS press conference. He said the software uses a pattern recognition algorithm to screen mugshot photos and select potential matches.

“In pattern recognition, you are only limited by the number of pixels in the photo. Sometimes there are eight to nine thousand pixels, so there’s a lot more data to use which leads to higher accuracy [of matches],” the NEC representative said.

CPS has a database of 300,000 photos obtained during arrests.

Hawkins said CPS won’t use the facial recognition software on the general public‚ only on subjects under investigation.

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