South Korea To Test AI-Powered Facial Recognition To Track COVID-19 Cases

South Korea will soon roll out a pilot project to use artificial intelligence, facial recognition and thousands of CCTV cameras to track the movement of people infected with the coronavirus, despite concerns about the invasion of privacy. Reuters reports: The nationally funded project in Bucheon, one of the country's most densely populated cities on the outskirts of Seoul, is due to become operational in January, a city official told Reuters. The system uses an AI algorithms and facial recognition technology to analyze footage gathered by more than 10,820 CCTV cameras and track an infected person's movements, anyone they had close contact with, and whether they were wearing a mask, according to a 110-page business plan from the city submitted to the Ministry of Science and ICT (Information and Communications Technology), and provided to Reuters by a parliamentary lawmaker critical of the project. The Bucheon official said the system should reduce the strain on overworked tracing teams in a city with a population of more than 800,000 people, and help use the teams more efficiently and accurately. [...] The Ministry of Science and ICT said it has no current plans to expand the project to the national level. It said the purpose of the system was to digitize some of the manual labour that contact tracers currently have to carry out. The Bucheon system can simultaneously track up to ten people in five to ten minutes, cutting the time spent on manual work that takes around half an hour to one hour to trace one person, the plan said.

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