We’ve heard so many tales currently concerning the frankly horrifying diploma to which facial recognition results in monitoring or privateness invasions. However a startup specializing in AI is as a substitute leveraging facial recognition expertise to seek out human trafficking victims.
Marinus Analytics is a startup that licenses expertise to legislation enforcement with the specific goal of preventing human trafficking. It’s founder and CEO, Emily Kennedy, created a program referred to as Site visitors Jam throughout her time at Carnegie Mellon that makes use of AI instruments to determine victims. These days, Traffic Jam is accessible to any legislation enforcement company that works with Marinus.
In response to Marinus’ website:
We discover essential proof the place others don’t, and save detectives lots of of investigative hours by pointing them to the high-value targets.
Culling knowledge from publicly-available web sites — corresponding to web sites the place you may discover escort adverts (shudder) — Site visitors Jam builds a database of photos, telephone numbers, and site knowledge which may also help determine patterns and proof. It scrapes the web sites each couple of minutes, which means even adverts that are deleted or modified remains to be usable.
Kennedy stated in an interview with Adweek Site visitors Jam does a job which might be unimaginable for people:
That is an especially sluggish and difficult handbook course of that might not for many circumstances present you the entire adverts. One, due to human error, but additionally as a result of traffickers delete previous adverts, so they aren’t on Google and might’t be discovered.
The corporate final 12 months added a characteristic to Site visitors Jam referred to as Facesearch, which combs by on-line images and identifies particular victims with the assistance of facial recognition software program. Legislation enforcement officers can take a photo of the individual in query and match it to others in Site visitors Jam’s databases, which is able to assist them discover the sufferer if their image is getting used to promote them on-line (once more, shudder).
Amazon’s Rekognition software program is the expertise behind the facial recognition, and it could additionally determine objects and actions inside . In response to the Rekognition website:
Amazon Rekognition additionally offers extremely correct facial evaluation and facial recognition. You’ll be able to detect, analyze, and evaluate faces for all kinds of person verification, cataloging, individuals counting, and public security use circumstances.
We recently learned Rokognition can be being utilized by legislation enforcement for different functions — specifically, surveillance functions. Whereas that utilization has some moral dilemmas which different specialists within the subject have pointed out, the utilization of the software program to seek out and probably assist put an finish to human trafficking — or not less than assist its victims — feels much more noble.
In response to the International Labour Organization‘s final , over 40.three million individuals had been trapped in “trendy slavery” in 2016, and one in 4 of them had been kids. four.eight million of them had been trapped in pressured sexual exploitation — the crime which ends up in lots of the adverts Site visitors Jam scrapes for knowledge.
Just lately Marinus’ process has grow to be harder, as a number of the obtainable sources — corresponding to Backpage.com, which was seized by the FBI in April — are not obtainable.
Each different story about facial recognition gives the look the tech is all the time getting used for moderately unsettling ends. For instance, simply in the previous few months, it’s been used to spy on bored school children, decide a fugitive out of a crowd of thousands, and forestall individuals from giving their mates tickets to an event.
However that is an instance of how facial recognition can be utilized to assist a number of the most susceptible and preyed-upon individuals on the planet. Most of the victims of human trafficking are kids, and any tech that helps kids or retains monsters from hurting them has to have its deserves.