Tuesday 01 December 2020

Schiphol airport tests cameras which can pick out unusual behaviour

The police at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport are to test out intelligent cameras which can pick up on unusual behaviour in travellers, the NRC reports on Thursday.

The cameras can not only identity obvious gestures such as wild arm movements or people who run through a departure lounge, but more subtle behaviours such as ‘spending too long in the toilet, a group of people which divides up or someone who leaves a suitcase unattended,’ the NRC says.

This, the police hope, will allow them to trace criminals and prevent attacks.

The cameras are being installed by The Hague company Qubit Visual Intelligence using research carried out by the Dutch TNO institute.

US defence department

The NRC says TNO has been researching intelligent cameras for years on behalf of the US defence department. Neither company would comment on the reports.

Publically available information gives some insight into how the cameras work. ‘We know that pickpockets often hover at the back of the same queue at a ticket machine several times without ever buying a ticket,’ TNO has said in a paper.

TNO is also researching techniques using heat sensitive cameras and radar to identify if people are nervous – for instance, a raised heartbeat or cold nose. It is not clear if this technology will be used at Schiphol, a spokesman said.

The justice ministry would only state: ‘we are continually involved in improving monitoring and security together with Schiphol. We are trying to do this more intelligently so that staff can do their jobs better’.

A similar project is to start at another location in the Netherlands soon but the location is being kept secret, the NRC says.

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