Facial recognition identifies people wearing masks

The system hones in on uncovered features such as eyes – Getty

Japanese company NEC, which develops facial-recognition
systems, has launched one that it claims can identify people
wearing masks.

It hones in on parts of the face that are not covered up, such
as the eyes, to verify their identity.

Verification takes less than one second, with an accuracy rate
of more than 99.9%, NEC says.

 uses NEC’s NeoFace Live Facial Recognition to compare
faces in a crowd with those on a watchlist.

Other clients include Lufthansa and Swiss International

And NEC is trialling the system for automated payments at a shop
in its Tokyo headquarters.

Shinya Takashima, assistant manager of NEC’s digital platform
division, told the Reuters news agency the technology could help
people avoid contact with surfaces in a range of situations.

It had been introduced as “needs grew even more due to the
coronavirus situation”, he added.


Before the coronavirus pandemic, facial-recognition algorithms
failed to identify 20-50% of images of people wearing face masks,
according to a report from the National Institute of Standards and

But by the end of 2020, it reported a vast improvement in

Ruled unlawful

Facial recognition has proved controversial.

There have been questions over how well systems recognise darker
shades of skin, alongside ethical concerns about invasion of

August, the use of such systems by Welsh police forces was ruled
 in a case brought by a civil-rights campaigner.

And in the US big technology companies, including Amazon and
IBM, have suspended the use of facial-recognition software by
police officers, to allow lawmakers time to consider legislation on
how it should be deployed.

Originally published by
BBC News | January 7,