Israel quietly launches massive facial recognition program in Gaza

Israel has deployed a massive facial recognition program in the Gaza Strip, creating a database of Palestinians without their knowledge or consent. New York Times ReportThe program, created in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 attacks, uses technology from Google Photos and custom tools built by Tel Aviv-based company Corsight to identify people linked to Hamas.

According to Israeli media, the facial recognition program was established in conjunction with Israel’s military attack on Gaza. era Report. After the Oct. 7 attack, officers from the Israeli Army’s Unit 8200, the IDF’s main intelligence unit, identified potential targets by watching security camera footage and videos uploaded to social media by Hamas. Soldiers also asked Palestinian prisoners to identify people from communities affiliated with Hamas.

Corsight, which claims its technology can accurately identify people even if their faces are less than 50% visible, used the photos to build a facial recognition tool that Israeli officials could use in Gaza. Target – The Israeli military has set up checkpoints equipped with facial recognition cameras on the main road for Palestinians fleeing south.An army officer told Israeli media that the target was eraThe purpose was to create a “blacklist” of people involved in the October 7 attacks.

In some cases, Corsight’s tool mistakenly identified people as affiliated with Hamas

the soldier told era Corsight’s technology isn’t always accurate, especially when it relies on grainy footage or photos of people’s faces being obscured. In some cases, Corsight’s tools incorrectly identified people as having ties to Hamas. One of the cases involved the Palestinian poet Mosab Abu Toha, who was killed on the Gaza Central Highway in mid-November when he tried to leave Gaza with his family for Egypt. were captured at an Israeli military checkpoint on the highway. The system has marked Abu Toha on Israel’s most wanted list. Israeli officials held Abu Toha in a prison. There he was beaten and interrogated for two days before being returned to Gaza without explanation.

The Israeli military supplemented Corsight’s technology with Google Photos — which, unlike Corsight, is free to use — soldiers told the Israeli military eraIntelligence officials have uploaded a database of “known persons” to Google Photos and are using photo searches to further identify people. An official told the Washington Post era Google Photos can identify people even when only a small part of their face is visible, which makes it better than other tools like Corsight.

Corsight executives and funders have been outspoken about their desire to help the Israeli military cope with the ongoing war in Gaza. The column is jerusalem postAaron Ashkenazi is a founder and partner at Canadian fund Awz Ventures, which led a $5 million round in Corsight in 2020. Companies in the Awz portfolio fall into the artificial intelligence and cybersecurity sectors.

In October, some hospitals in Israel began using Corsight’s technology to identify patients. Forbes report then.according to Forbes Corsight’s technology is capable of taking “images of people whose characteristics have been affected by physical trauma and finding matches in photos sent by concerned family members,” the report said.

Corsight focuses primarily on government, law enforcement and military applications. In 2020, the one-year-old company said its technology Recognizable masked faces. Two years later, Corsight Claims to be developing tools Face models can be created from DNA. Last year, Corsight partnered with the Bogota, Colombia, police department to Tracking down murder and theft suspects About the public transportation system.

Corsight did not respond to a request for comment.

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