Israel deploys facial recognition program in Gaza

Uncover the complexities of Israel’s newly implemented facial recognition program in Gaza, sparking discussions on surveillance ethics and civil liberties.

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Israel has deployed a sophisticated facial recognition program in the Gaza Strip, according to reports. The program, initiated after the 7 October attacks, employs technology from Google Photos and a proprietary tool from Corsight AI, an Israeli firm dedicated to creating industry-leading facial recognition technology to identify individuals linked to Hamas without their consent.

The facial recognition system, crafted in parallel with Israel’s military operations in Gaza, operates by collecting data from diverse sources, including social media platforms, surveillance footage, and inputs from Palestinian detainees. Israeli Unit 8200, the primary intelligence unit, played a pivotal role in identifying potential targets through these means.

Corsight’s technology, known for its claim to accurately identify individuals even with less than 50% of their face visible, was utilised to construct a facial recognition tool. Establishing checkpoints equipped with facial recognition cameras along critical routes used by Palestinians to escape southwards, the Israeli military aims to expand the database and pinpoint potential targets, compiling a ‘hit list’ of individuals associated with the 7 October attack.

Despite soldiers acknowledging Corsight’s technology’s limitations, particularly in grainy images or obscured faces, concerns persist over misidentifications. One such incident involved the mistaken apprehension of Palestinian poet Mosab Abu Toha, who faced interrogation and detention due to being flagged by the system.