Tech Company Nets $5M For Facial Recognition That Sees Through Masks

Corsight AI is developing tech to see through and ID people through masks

Corsight AI, an Israeli tech firm, raised $5 million as it develops technology to recognize people’s faces through masks, goggles or plastic coverings, according to a Reuters report.

The tech is part of a larger system Corsight has developed to address the challenges of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The money came from investors Awz Ventures, a Canadian firm focused on intelligence and security technology. Corsight said the funding will go toward boosting the tech, which has become necessary as the coronavirus has people wearing masks and making them unidentifiable by traditional cameras or monitors.

But identification, Corsight said, could be necessary for slowing the spread of the virus.

Corsight said this technology could help identify people who have tested positive for the virus and who are violating quarantine. By using a sophisticated system, the company could identify those close to an infected person.

Corsight has installed security systems in various places across the world: airports and hospitals in Europe, some Asian cities, police departments and border crossings in South America, and African mines and banks.

The tech isn’t unique — China-based Hanwang Technology developed a system in March that could recognize people through face masks.

Facial recognition technology often faced criticism before the pandemic as companies and governmental bodies debated its merits. Critics said the technology has the potential to be used in ways that violate people’s privacy, and in some cases has been racially discriminatory, misidentifying people of some racial minority groups in criminal cases or used to select potential employee candidates.

In the era of the coronavirus, a recent report by PYMNTS found a “hornet’s nest” of privacy and ethical issues with the already-adopted facial recognition technologies by some governments.

“The greatest concern is whether the U.S. government will follow in the footsteps of many Asian nations in relaxing protections of citizen’s data to track individuals suffering from COVID-19 and identify those with whom they have been in contact,” the report stated.