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New Zealand Deploys Artificial Intelligence to Solve Crime

Across the world, countries are increasingly using cutting edge tech to aid in solving and managing crime. More recently, law enforcement agencies are adopting artificial intelligence to assist their officers in a number of their tasks. Artificial intelligence in policing is a framework that is evaluated with the help of computers. It can also be used to make final decisions on rulings. It is the technology that holds great promise for the future in crime detection.

Artificial intelligence in policing is expected to bring about changes in security and assurance to a society. In fact, AI is rapidly becoming an indispensable part of law enforcement as it supports them in a plethora of ways.

One such solution is ‘facial recognition,’ which is being widely implemented in a variety of sectors other than the law to maintain security. This type of AI technology is used for surveillance, to monitor the crowd for anomalies or patterns, evaluate video footage for crime and apply facial recognition to optimum effect. More importantly, the technology has the potential to not only prevent and solve crimes but also to preempt them.

In New Zealand, a facial recognition provider had developed a high-tech surveillance tool that is currently being used by the nation’s police. According to New Zealand’s police national manager of criminal investigations, the device will only be utilised if there is a serious crime that requires the device’s assistance. Additionally, its initial use will be limited to 150 searches of police volunteers and approximately 30 searches of persons of interest.

The device is also being utilised in identifying law-abiding people at a protest, providing New Zealand Police with their names, location and a list of contacts. It is commonly used as an after-the-fact investigation, which means only to be used after someone has committed a crime.

More than 600 law enforcement agencies globally, including the FBI, have adopted this high-tech facial recognition device. The device works by scraping publicly available images of people from the internet and storing them in a database. This allows law enforcement to easily match an image and determine who it belongs to, and provide links to where those photos appeared on the internet. It now contains over 3 billion images scraped from websites. As more faces are scanned, the accuracy of the platform increases.

For most countries, facial recognition technology has received a lot of positive attention. Biometric verification technology, which was once confined to dystopian science fiction, is now being used as a trusted, ‘contactless’ payment system or as a means of quick and convenient ID checks in places such as busy airports.

When the coronavirus pandemic broke out in China, authorities upgraded cameras in the country with more sophisticated facial identification tech to be able to capture facial features even when they are obstructed with protective gear such as face masks. Such advanced application of the technology might help with contact-tracing of the virus in a country that was facing high infection rates.

While the pros are obvious, there were several concerns on how the device would or could be used. Other countries have not yet given such high-tech devices the go-ahead to provide live monitoring of public spaces as there is a strong potential and capacity for the technology to be misused.

NOnetheless, Artificial intelligence is slowly but progressively becoming a proficient tool in catching offenders and attempting to prevent unlawful actions. It is no longer just a speculative notion, as now more and more law enforcement agencies around the world start using cutting-edge technology to assist in solving, managing and preventing crime.


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