A horse racing track in Sydney is using facial recognition technology, but don’t worry, they say they’re in full compliance with Australian privacy laws.
In a press release from the company providing the technology, Oosto, it’s explained that “watchlist alerting” is provided to the Australian Turf Club (ATC) for the operator to enable “face-based security protection throughout its facility”.
The facial recognition tech is deployed at Randwick Racecourse – a racetrack that’s visited by more than one million people a year. According to Oosto, this creates a “complex set of security requirements for guests and employees alike”. Fun fact, Pope Benedict was once a Randwick Racecourse attendee, not there for a punt, however, he was there for World Youth Day. Mission Impossible has even filmed at the track, and your writer suffered through a number of university exams there, too. Gizmodo Australia would prefer if the racetrack was used purely for events of the non-cruelty-to-animals variety, but alas.
Anyway. Oosto reckons the security teams have a mammoth task on their hands of “managing evictions of known offenders and self-excluded gaming patrons across multiple entries and exits”.
“Relying on the human eye or memory alone proved to be challenging in recognising repeat offenders at ATC’s other racecourse locations,” Oosto said, adding there’s also more than 500 staff on major race days, 300 of which are security personnel.
So, the ATC is using the facial recognition tech to “recognise potential security threats” (read: target people).
The ATC turned its passive cameras into smart cameras (those positioned at entry points) and the cameras run Oosto’s video analytics software. Oosto’s facial recognition software allows the ATC to search backward in time, by having a photo loaded in the system and locate offenders.
“We take our guests’ privacy very seriously and use facial recognition for security and safety purposes only, with clear disclosure and with full compliance with Australian law” said Gary Colston, ATC head of security and access. “Fair and ethical use of the technology enables us to significantly improve the safety of our guests and staff without compromising strict privacy.”
It isn’t just the ATC, however, Oosto reckons the facial recognition tech industry is booming. This can be seen in the recent revelations that Bunnings, Kmart and The Good Guys were using facial recognition technology in-store.
“The market is facing explosive growth and is expected to quadruple by 2026,” they said.