New social distancing app raises some privacy concerns

  • Artificial intelligence innovator Landing AI has created a new social distancing app, which works by detecting whether people are keeping at a safe distance from each other by analysing video streams from a camera.

    The app was created to help businesses implement and monitor social distancing measures more efficiently, using CCTV cameras.

    The firm said the new app does not recognise individuals and so respects privacy.

    In a blog post,  Landing AI stated: “The rise of computer vision has opened up important questions about privacy and individual rights; our current system does not recognise individuals, and we urge anyone using such a system to do so with transparency and only with informed consent.”

    RELATED: Fujitsu: Securing the future of our data and technology

    Although it may not be Landing AI’s intention, it is still possible to identify people from anonymous information, and in a working environment it would not be hard to recognise the identities of individuals.

    Landing AI urges anyone using the system to apply informed consent, but in an office or factory environment, informed consent of employees could perhaps be replaced by legitimate interest.

    In a wider setting, public interest might be a viable alternative to consent.

    RELATED: Fathom: What does the tech world look like beyond COVID–19?

    Founder of Landing AI, Andrew Ng was the founding lead of the Google Brain team, and former chief scientist at multinational tech firm Baidu. He once tweeted: “Companies are hiring data privacy experts. This is a good step! But privacy (similar to security) should not be the sole domain of privacy engineers. In addition to the experts, it’s also every engineer’s responsibility to do what they can.”

    Source: PrivSecReport

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

    Got a news-related tip you’d like to see covered on Sync NI? Email the editorial team for our consideration.

Share this story