Keeping a close eye on suspicious people during an international event is of paramount importance. This is precisely why Dubai will be introducing its new facial recognition system in the next months.
On Sunday, the emirate stated that its public transport system will be kitted out with these systems ahead of the global Expo exhibition, set to open in October 2021, per Arab News.
This is the first facial recognition to be installed on public transport in the nation, and it's being introduced to heighten security measures.
A new system to keep people safe
"This technology has proven its effectiveness to identify suspicious and wanted people," said Obaid Al-Hathboor, director of Dubai’s Transport Security Department.
The emirate already uses a biometric system to keep a close eye on travelers coming in and out of its international airport, but this is the first system to be added to Dubai's public transport system.
"We aspire to raise our performance by building on our current capabilities, to ensure a high level of security in metro stations and other transport sectors," he also explained.
It was tested with a simulated scenario
To prove the system is effective, the city's police carried out a simulated scenario using the facial recognition software. The plan involved identifying gunmen launching an attack on a metro station.
VIDEO: 🇦🇪 Dubai introduces facial recognition on public transport— AFP news agency (@AFP) October 25, 2020
Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed inaugurated the Hamdan Smart Station for Simulation and Training as Dubai introduced a #facialrecognition system on public transport to beef up security. pic.twitter.com/fNSRIcku5v
Per Arab News, a specially-trained unit of Dubai's police force received training in the U.S. During the mock attack, the unit evacuated people in a metro station, then worked in pairs along with a control center to discover who the suspects were.
This is the same unit that will be working during the Expo in 2021 to keep a watchful eye on Dubai's public transport.
All metro stations in Dubai will be fitted out with this new system in the coming months, per Jamal Rashed of Dubai Police’s Transport Security Department.
Prior to this new system, it took roughly five hours to identify faces. Now, it takes less than a minute.
While this is potentially fantastic news for security reasons, facial recognition software also raises alarms of privacy breaches around the world.