Israel using mass facial recognition tech on Gazans

Israel's economy runs on tech. Military tech, household tech, cloud computing, you name it. So it's not really surprising that Israel would utilize the tools that they have on hand, and especially ones that they're eager to test out, on the neighbors that they're at war with. They've been doing this for years with weapons, so surveillance technologies aren't a huge leap. "Israel quietly rolled out a mass facial recognition program in the Gaza Strip," reports The Verge.

Corsight, which has boasted that its technology can accurately identify people even if less than 50 percent of their face is visible, used these photos to build a facial recognition tool Israeli officers could use in Gaza. To further build out its database — and identify potential targets — the Israeli military set up checkpoints equipped with facial recognition cameras along major roads Palestinian used to flee south. The goal, one officer told the Times, was to create a "hit list" of people who participated in the October 7th attack.

Gaby Del Valle, The Verge

Soldiers also asked Palestinian prisoners to identify people from their communities who were affiliated with Hamas.

I'm sure they asked politely, too. And I'm sure, like with all facial recognition programs, it's accurate and impartial.

In some instances, Corsight's tool mistakenly identified people as being connected to Hamas. One such case involved Palestinian poet Mosab Abu Toha, who was plucked from an Israeli military checkpoint on Gaza's central highway in mid-November while he was trying to leave Gaza for Egypt with his family. The system had flagged Abu Toha as being on an Israeli list of wanted persons. Israeli officers held Abu Toha in a detention facility, where he was beaten and interrogated for two days before being returned to Gaza without an explanation.

Gaby Del Valle, The Verge

Regardless of its efficacy, technologies used by Israel on its opponents are sold to interested parties.

India – Israel's largest military buyer, which operates more than 100 Israeli-made UAVs – purchased 34 Heron drones in this period, followed by France (24), Brazil (14) and Australia (10), according to a 2014 report by Drone Wars UK.

…"in every war against Gaza a range of weapons and surveillance tech has been deployed against the Palestinians which is then marketed and sold to huge amounts of nations around the world," said Antony Loewenstein, independent journalist and author of The Palestine Laboratory.

Paddy Dowling, Al Jazeera

Previously: Sweaters that fool facial recognition