Facing fears: Should facial recognition technology be installed in railway stations?
German authorities are testing facial recognition software at Berlin’s main rail station, in an attempt to increase security. Joe Baker asks whether the installation could be helpful or harmful to rail passengers.
From Apple’s newly announced iPhone X to biometric banking systems in China, facial recognition is becoming a hot topic for a variety of sectors looking to streamline their services and products.
However, the question of whether the technology should be installed at railway hubs has been mired in controversy. Tensions bubbled recently when Germany’s Interior Ministry began trialling facial recognition software at Berlin’s Südkreuz station, much to the chagrin of local privacy and data protection agencies.
German federal police believe that on a wider scale, facial recognition could be used to fight terrorism and criminal activities in public transport hubs. The police say the technology will help security forces detect and deal with crimes before they are able to happen.
Nevertheless, the trial has caused many to re-assert the question of whether facial recognition software is even needed in railway stations, and if it could be helpful or harmful in the long run.