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Face Recognition Cameras on UK Roads?

Dear All,

A friend sent me a video last night from a guy called Rob Braxman in California.

In the video Rob went through all the ways that facial recognition cameras are being rolled out around the World to remove our privacy and impede our freedom.

Just a very short section of the video was about the face recognition cameras being used on the roads in his home town of Los Angeles;

“In my city of Los Angeles there are street cameras actively taking facial recognition shots. You get speeding tickets with your face prominently recognized based on your driver’s licence.

I have seen these traffic tickets in action and it actually states on the tickets that they use facial recognition!

Los Angeles also uses cameras on the freeway in addition to street cameras to actually track both your face and your license plate.

(I’ve just tidied up the above a bit so it reads better, because it doesn’t transcribe properly direct from a video).

So what does this have to do with the UK, I hear you ask?

Well, I wrote a blog post 13 months ago entitled Happy 2020! …Time To Take Our Freedom Back? in which I mused about how we were creeping towards totalitarianism the UK…

In the blog post, I didn’t even realise that face recognition cameras were already being deployed here at the time. A BTST Member and “whistleblower”, Ron, left this comment (slightly shortened here):

“I am in the CCTV Industry installing, servicing, specifying systems etc, and am in the front line of technology, especially from China with all the new innovations with AI Technology.

Adam is spot on in that they already have this facial recognition software and other innovations like gait technology in full use in China and a few of its provinces where they consider a threat to their way of life and keeping the population under control. Now it is being used in the UK right under our noses like in shopping arcades, at football matches and anywhere where the foot traffic is extremely busy.

I am not happy with the way our society is now becoming a big brother society, but its the way I make my living.

So I’m like the proverbial Turkey voting for Christmas.”

So, I ask: Are facial recognition cameras now being used on our roads in the UK? Note I used the word “our” and not “the governments”, because we paid for them and we are the ones who use them.

A quick google search doesn’t really bring anything up. This is not surprising, because over the last year or so they’ve been engaged in massive censorship, manually removing content from search results that doesn’t fit their agenda (or that of whoever it is they answer to…).

I would have to say at this point that we should assume we are being tracked on the UK’s road networks. Not by our government issued number plates, but by our faces.

You may be in the camp of people who say “well, if I’m not doing anything wrong, I don’t have anything to worry about!”.

If you are in this camp, I respectfully urge caution:

1) Who decides what is right and what is wrong? Is it you, or someone else?; 2) If you look at history, totalitarianism starts almost imperceptibly, with freedoms being slowly peeled away in the name of some greater good. I think we all have a pretty good idea about what happens after that…

I’ll leave you with that thought :-)

All the best,

Adam

PS. I’ve just recorded a quick TALEX 3 update for you below. I thought it would be easier to explain the current status in a video than via email :-) TLDR: All looking good, just need to get final firmware version with all of the fixes we’ve already signed off on!

 

Comments 61

    1. If they were to use the technology to catch known criminals, only, I think it would be great. So anyone who commits an offence could have their face recorded in it. That would give the rest of us some reassurance!

      1. Indeed, used as a device to catch ‘real criminals’ this could be viewed as a bonus in the fight against crime. CCTV was used to catch Venables and his accomplice in the abduction and murder of James Bulger, it is also useful at football matches where missiles might be thrown, and racist and homophobic comments and abuse hurled at players etc etc ad nauseum. As for minor traffic violations, I’m uncertain of their use, but let’s say you’re doing 140mph on the M6?

      2. The system in California uses driver’s license photos to compare against. Do you have to be a criminal to get a driver’s license?

        I have some sympathy for your suggestion, but once the system you envision is in place, if you don’t think that they will find a way to “accidentally” import photos from driver’s license, passport and who knows what other databases, then justify it after the fact so that they don’t have to purge them, I have some ocean-front property in Kansas you might be interested in purchasing!?

    2. For me what we have to behave and I maybe being a little simplistic ?
      Facial recognition is like a fingerprint of your face as we all know.
      If you dont get in bother then they wont have your details on file anyway.
      As has been pointed out, the freedom of authorities to capture your features
      at a mass gathering or protest when you are merely supports a cause is very
      different and that should be fought against.
      All this talk of covering your face in a car is acceptable but, If you are on their
      Radar anyway your car will “ping” the ANPR anyway and long b4 they bother
      with Facial recognition.
      Not being O.T.T but surely that makes sense??

  1. Hi thanks for the update stay safe and we hope Tom is well soon kind regards Ian Doxford looking forward to receiving the new telex xx

    1. I know that lots of people say the same thing “If you’ve nothing to hide then it’s not an issue”.
      But we are becoming one of the most spied upon countries in the world.

      1. “The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed.”

        Adolf Hitler

  2. I stopped using Google as my search engine ages ago for the very reasons that you cite. I now prefer to use DuckDuckGo.

  3. Blimey. We’ve had cameras up and running in this country for years. Probably more years than you’ve been driving. Over those years the tech has become much greater and cheaper. So what if facial recognition cameras are up and running on the streets and roads. It’s for the better. What about those cameras attached to homes ? These are so good of the past few years that faces can be seen clearly. Personally I’m all for cameras. Hopefully they’ll bring my insurance down.

    1. If we are being photogrsphed with facial recognition cameras Adam, .
      I think you need to ask the creators of the Talex to create software that can automatically colour change the car we are driving car, create a totally indistinct number plate and present a made up human face. I find it quite disturbing to think that sophisticated cameras are monitoring us whilst we drive.We already have surveillance cameras which are ok for house and property protection but when we begin to get into Orwellian tactics I think this is sinister and totally out of order.

      5

  4. I really don’t get the problem? If you are not doing anything wrong, then there’s no problem, and if someone steals your car, and generates a ticket, the facial recognition would confirm it wasn’t you! Like DNA, I have no concerns about having my DNA on a National Register, if that would allow the Police to sucessfully identify and prosecute Criminals, and I don’t see any real difference with facial recognition being used to do it either! Public safety and freedom do come at a price, so if the deployment of facial recognition helps with this, I think it is a price worth paying!

  5. So wear a balaclava at all times and if challenged claim that your religion requires you to keep your face covered at all times (make sure you’ve prepared and rehearsed the name of said religion!!)

    1. Who cares about facial recognition, if it helps with crime then fine. If its used for other things we should worry

    1. I have had a refund of my Talex full payment now because all we seem to keep getting is excuses for delay after delay – remember when it was to be here by Xmas LOL? im beginning to wonder if there really is a Talex 3!

  6. Its not the cameras as such, its the software that accesses them that is worrisome. They will be used to correlate the registration details (name, address, driver no etc) with a face. This is stored on a server that will hold a file on you showing your movements, job, income spending habits, political views, children, all you family members, your friends, all your internet usage, everything you do on your phone, all your keystrokes, all your Alexa interactions, your medical history, your credit rating, your police files etc, etc, etc…

    All this info will be (and is) ruthlessly used against you by A.I. (algorithms) that have no morals, no compassion, no guilt and no mercy. Welcome to your children’s future – caused by your laziness, your fecklessness, your base fears, your appetites and your willingness to give up personal privacy for the sake of gadgets that provide you with minor conveniences.

    Whats coming is YOUR fault.

  7. It is ok being traced if we are not doing anything wrong but imagine taking part in a legal demonstration say for or against BREXIT and what a more extreme government could do. We must remember that any extreme system China to USA or worse the police are always on the establishments side.

    I do not like being checked up on, a question is it legal to have tinted windscreens and would they stop the camera seeing you.

  8. Great to hear the Talex3 is getting closer, it has taken a while but it’s worth getting it right. Please do keep us up to date on what is happening, the video works really well to do that.

  9. Thanks for the TALEX 3 update.
    Are facial recognition cameras an infringement on one’s fundamental human rights ?

  10. Rob Braxman knows his stuff in the full video he talks about how those cameras are linked to https://www.palantir.com/ which gives LA esentially a “pre crime” capability similar to that shown in a Tom Cruise film, face recognition is just the tip of the iceberg you should be more worried ATM about your apple/android phone (aka tracker) that you carry everywhere than face recognition.

  11. If it can stop unlicensed/uninsured/dangerous drivers and not just minor/petty speeding offences, then I am all for it. As long as I have nothing to hide, why should I be concerned about cameras everywhere?

  12. The “if you are doing nothing wrong…” argument does not stand up to scrutiny. At best out of context snapshots get recorded. Even with continuous recording, any one judging you is going to take cognitive shortcuts equivalent to snapshots. That means no context, no knowledge of intent and very high probability of misconstruction.

    This is why privacy is important, and why individuals must be allowed to control the narrative they present to the world.

    Imagine a world of complete surveillance. How would you protect yourself? One strategy is to avoid doing anything that might hold any possibility of misconstruction. Another is to waste time and energy constructing commentaries (which will probably be ignored for cognitive overload reasons). Either way, it would lead to a very drab, boring world of ultra-conformism.

    Is that what the “if you are doing nothing wrong…” simpletons want – drab, boring ultra-conformism and zero innovation?

  13. You will all have to go out and buy motorbikes then you can wear a full face helmet and travel incognito!

  14. Sad so many people don’t see the dangers of this in an increasingly intolerant country, worse in Scotland. And the flippant wear a face mask then answers are absurd for numerous reasons. Yes it’s easy to see how a population can be cowed, believing if they do no wrong it will be OK and what’s the problem? One Labour MP even let the cat out the bag, blurting out what a Godsend coronavirus is. And it is to any uber controlling governments.

  15. The Talex 3 better be good. All those who paid for one back in July 2020 have been waiting a very long time. Think you are bullshiting about the time it’s taking.
    Adrian.

    1. I have had a refund of my Talex full payment now because all we seem to keep getting is excuses for delay after delay – remember when it was to be here by Xmas LOL? im beginning to wonder if there really is a Talex 3!

      1. Talex 3 is very real and we have been working hard to get this product to our users! Paul as you rightly mentioned you requested a refund and we immediately provided one. We hope you will come back to the fold once Talex 3 ships.

    2. Believe me Jon there has been a lot of work behind the scenes, we have been working tirelessly to get this right – the next update should be the one everyone has been waiting for! Just afford us a little more of your patience and everyone will be rewarded….

  16. I left a comment earlier. Perhaps I did not do it right. If they used the technology for tracking known faces of criminals, only, that would give the rest of us some reassurance!

  17. I’m in the middle over this. Whilst these cameras have virtues, they are an invasion of privacy as well as being the hinge pin in tying up all the other things they do. I agree with all that Mark says but I can also see the benefits. Whether the benefits outweigh the negatives, I don’t know. They do help to keep us safe and get us out of trouble if someone steals our car and breaks the law. I think it’s a trade off for our security. We shouldn’t have to need them but with todays criminals being a lot more savvy than ever, it’s these cameras that can help to catch them. We are responsible for our society so perhaps we should take some of the blame. Regarding Talex 3, when is it likely to be released? I paid for mine about a year ago on the priority list and expected it within a few months not years! I know they’re complicated and difficult to get right but was it advertised and paid for a bit too early in the process? Was it expected to take this long?

    1. Hi Jon – with regards to Talex 3 – we are in the very final stages of making the firmware road ready, we found a few things we weren’t happy with in the last road test, so we have had to make a few slight (and I mean slight) changes , unfortunately this means we have to await the changes to be made by our developers and sent back to us so we can road test, and then give the final thumbs up – it has been a long road (pardon the pun) but we are almost there – once we give the thumbs up – the product will go to distribution.. the next update should be the one everyone is waiting for….. Thanks for your patience and continued support!

    1. We can appreciate your frustrations – honestly, we are to but hence why we are not giving up and making this the best product we have ever released. There really isn’t much left to do – once this final firmware comes back we should be ready to distribute Talex to everyone!

  18. As a few have already said, if you haven’t anything to hide you should have nothing to fear from facial recognition camera’s. I believe generally it will make us all safer. Talex 3 getting closer . Ty for the update…

  19. I get the privacy issues, but there’s a lot of nasty guys out there and their crimes cause injury, misery and financial hardship. So, on balance, I’m in favour of facial regognition to help keep them in check.

  20. I have had a refund of my Talex full payment now because all we seem to keep getting is excuses for delay after delay – remember when it was to be here by Xmas LOL? im beginning to wonder if there really is a Talex 3!

    1. Hi Paul – we appreciate there have been delays hence why when asked for a refund by yourself, we refunded you immediately and without quibble. We have spent a lot of time in getting this product right, the past year hasn’t helped matters but we are nearly there.

  21. GOOGLE 2012 – There have been numerous tales of poor customer service, refunds not being forthcoming and other complaints, a quick Google search for Adam Blair and Talex will reveal just how many unhappy customers they had. Indeed there is an entire website dedicated to Adam Blair and Talex here.

    Despite the dissolution of Talex Technology Ltd their website is still operating, prospective customers would be well advised to do their research before purchasing from them. In the meantime, we await news of the next chapter with interest.

  22. I work at a place that uses facial recognition when taking your temperature and works even when wearing a surgical mask, so unlikely masks are going to prevent you from being recognized anywhere.

    So yes big brother is watching and new cars have all the requirements for us to be tracked anyway so not a lot we can do about it.

  23. I have read and re-read Mark’s comments and can clearly see the point he is making. It is only a few steps away from every person’s details being linked on some super computer. Apart from the ‘I’m doing no wrong so I don’t need to worry’ thought which I can understand please remember that at the simple press of a computer button a person could easily be given a ‘non-person’ status. Imagine what it would be like if you (including you direct family members) found that suddenly you had no money, no credit, no home, no food, no fuel, no health care, no representation, no job, no income, no phone or computer etc, etc . Highly unlikely -Yes, slightly over dramatic-Yes, Unlikely – hopefully but Impossible -DEFINITELY -NO. The infamous ‘1984’ existence comes to mind where ‘Big Brother’ rules. God alone knows what could happen if it ever got hacked

  24. Hi Mr Panettone Man!
    It would be better to focus more on the invisible AI in the non-existent Talex 3, rather than diverting attention with another of your conspiracy theories. Our government is elected by us. If the majority don’t like what they’re doing, we can change it. It’s called democracy. Without laws you have anarchy – then who governs?
    Life is a balance:
    Cameras = less personal privacy, but more crime detection and more security.
    Talex 3 = dodgy Chinese AI recording our driving, and more conspiracy theory blogs.
    So what’s the difference between cameras and Talex 3? At least facial recognition cameras exist…and work.

    No more lame excuses please – and no more panettone!

  25. A few years back Thames Valley’s finest went to enormous trouble to convict a driver who’d been photographed from the front of his car by a speed camera. Although the photo was indistinct they produced evidence that it was him supplied by comparing his height and build and got a conviction despite him saying that it wasn’t him.

  26. The First thing I want to point out is YOU WOULD SOON SHOUT if you got it and found it had a few Faults so is it Nota case of PROVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE.

    The second point is regarding Face Recognition “What happens if your Twin is Driving ? Or you drive with a FACE Mask (look a like) DONALD Trump or any other MP ??? Now there is a thought. Hmmmmm

  27. The First thing I want to point out is YOU WOULD SOON SHOUT if you got it and found it had a few Faults so is it Nota case of PROVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE.

    The second point is regarding Face Recognition “What happens if your Twin is Driving ? Or you drive with a FACE Mask (look a like) DONALD Trump or any other MP ??? Now there is a thought. Hmmmmm

    How do you Prove it is A LOOK A LIKE and it us NOT YOU when Every One knows ” A CAMERA CAN’T LIE “

  28. Seems to me that Adam’s lost focus here. Lots of people waiting a long time for the new Talex and he seems more interested in his loony theories.
    However…
    NO crime prevention initiative in history has ever been completely clear cut as a ‘good thing’ has it? There will always be situations and instances where it gets it wrong, or infringes rights in some way, or whatever. As for these people who thin kit’s OK to have CCTV protecting THEIR property but not OK for police to protect everybody … get real!

  29. I, along with others, paid for a Talex 3 in July last year. My Talex Wikango Max stopped working properly nearly 2 years ago, when the fault you were aware of which caused problems detecting GPS started. This is a very long time to be without a working camera detector.

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      Author
  30. Adam
    It would be interesting to hear from one of your Drive Protect lawyers on this topic.
    When CCTV recording is in use, the Information Protection/ data capture laws have to date, insisted that a notice has to be displayed saying that CCTV is in use, and the name of the organisation collecting it. Doubtless, the Government is exempt from having to do this, and nobody can read such a notice if they pass it at anything above snails pace.
    But is there any law which allows the collecting organisation to pass the data (images) to a third party for analysis? If the law prohibits this, then it surely must be inadmissible in Court?
    Equally important, how do the same laws apply to images captured by private individuals on dashcams and then passed to the police?

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