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Dept. of Homeland Security Testing Facial Recognition Software at Toyota Center During Tri-City Americans Home Opener

security camera
(Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)

Be sure to smile for the added security cameras placed in and around the Toyota Center this weekend as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will be testing its facial recognition capabilities. During a portion of Saturday’s Tri-City Americans season opener against the Spokane Chiefs, video will be taped by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory testing the capabilities the latest software.

This isn’t the first time that the Richland national lab has worked with the Department of Homeland Security to collect video at the Toyota Center, but the previous collected video either has not captured members of the public or has been too low resolution to identify faces.

Multiple cameras will be set up in the main entrance, in the concourse between sections S and W and at the concession stand at section W. The plan is for this state-of-the-art facial recognition technologies to identify PNNL employees, the crowd is really just background. The video will be used to see how many of the 20 specific PNNL faces in attendance the technology can pick out of the crowd and also how many times the video picks out the face of a random member of the public instead.

That means a hockey fan’s face could be incorrectly identified as the person for whom the video is searching. However, no names of people will be collected, said Patty Wolfhope, program manager at the Department of Homeland Security. Additionally, only government researchers, not the technology developers, will see the video.

In the future, this software could be used by numerous agencies ranging from local police offices to the U.S. Border Patrol, Transportation Security Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

If you don’t want to be on camera (understandable), there will be signs set up to direct fans to areas without cameras. PNNL staff will also be on hand and available to answer any questions.

The season opener between the Americans and Spokane Chiefs could be the first of several tests, including more at Toyota Center games later in the season and possibly at another location.

[Via Tri-City Herald]

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