Big brother is here and now. Surveillance cameras are no longer dumb stand-alone items. Cameras are increasingly linked with facial recognition tech that identifies who is being watched. You are being watched and they know who you are and what you are doing.
Facial recognition and surveillance has till now been the all about large companies and Government. Westfields and Crown Casinos use facial recognition not just for security, but to know and identify their users and customers. The ominously named Federal Government “The Capability” uses your passport and driver’s licence photos. These are linked to surveillance cameras that will ultimately be used for real time ID and tracking.
New Sydney tech start-up, IDChekr, is about to turn all of this on its head. c How it works: take a photo of someone, load to the app that scans the photo and identifies who you are looking at. The app will also scan publicly available profiles and social media to provide a profile of that person.
"Facial identification data is currently an unregulated public asset which is being exploited by governments and well-funded corporations, in many cases for purposes which are not in the subject's interest. As we see it there are two responses to this situation: develop jamming tech to combat mass surveillance, or embrace facial recognition technology and democratise its use. The latter response is the motivation behind IDCheckr - we want to put this power in the hands of the public," said Founder, Hayden Toppeross.
"The secret sauce is Recurrent Neural Networks - a subset of Machine Learning. These allow us to process extremely large data sets very quickly and refine the outputs based on usage data. This means the more the system is used, the more efficient it becomes," said Hayden.
IDChekr will use open source data sets and user photo libraries to build very large data sets. The app will be free to users.
"Users will be rewarded for their input to the group data set by customisation and privacy options associated with their profile. We want this process to be enjoyable and frictionless, and above all beneficial to the user," states Hayden.
IDChekr is a qualifying Early Stage Start-up Company (ESIC), that gives initial supporters of the IDChekr big incentives. Effectively the Federal Government gives a 20% subsidy to supporters by way of a tax offset, plus any capital gains are tax free in the first 10 years. Two big incentives to get behind this Australian start-up.
Founder, Hayden Toppeross, is a research affiliate at University of Sydney involved with conversational artificial intelligence. He is Multimedia Content Producer at Western Sydney University. He has pioneered production techniques for stereoscopic 360 video in virtual reality, at Start VR. He founded and ran the production company Motion Pictures Militia, managing post production for Australian ads and music videos.
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