Israel Unveils Surveillance System To Track Masks, Social Distancing


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A new surveillance system that detects whether individuals are obeying coronavirus guidelines has been implemented in Or Akiva, a northern Israeli City, YNet News reported.

Or Akiva has seen experimental monitoring systems pop up in popular locations throughout the city over the past few weeks, according to YNet News.  In hopes of slowing the spread of COVID-19, the technology is able to detect face masks, social distancing, and overcrowding, per YNet News.

The technology works by feeding live video to a control center that catches any violations, according to YNet News. This implemented through smart surveillance cameras, which allows the technology alone to identify any violations without having a person monitor the camera’s feed, according to YNet News. 

If non-compliance is detected, a PA system is in place to alert the public of the issue. If further action is required, there are measures in place to call law enforcement to handle the situation, according to Security Magazine. At this time, the surveillance systems are not able to conduct facial recognition, per YNet News. 

A first-of-its-kind #surveillance system was deployed in Israel to monitor whether Israelis are following the Health Ministry’s #coronavirus guidelines, such as wearing #masks and #SocialDistancing.

Report by @Sarah_Chemla

— The Jerusalem Post (@Jerusalem_Post) November 11, 2020

Shlomi Segev, the Director of the Municipal Authority for the Prevention of Violence, Drugs, and Alcohol Abuse, stated that the system was introduced in partnership with Israeli law enforcement, with the goal of preventing violence and vandalism in the city, while also upholding health guidelines, YNet News reported. 

Following the deployment of this new system, Israeli locals have reportedly expressed concerns about privacy issues, drawing comparisons to China’s surveillance systems, YNet News reported. (RELATED: China Selling Surveillance Tech To Nations Trying To Spy On Their Own People) 

A local wrote on Facebook, “We are becoming China, and this is just the beginning,” according to YNet News. 

These concerns follow in the wake of China’s Hanwang Technology Ltd announcing improvements to facial recognition software to allow for the identification of individuals when wearing a mask, according to Reuters

“When wearing a mask, the recognition rate can reach about 95%, which can ensure that most people can be identified,” Huang Lei, Vice President of Hangwang Technology, reportedly told Reuters. 

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