New facial recognition technology entrenches apartheid, says Amnesty

A new report from Amnesty International reveals that a system, called Red Wolf, scans the faces of Palestinians and stores their biometric data, a step up from the IDF’s well-known Blue Wolf photo database.

A new report published by Amnesty International on Tuesday has revealed Israel’s latest push to install advanced facial recognition technology at checkpoints in the West Bank city of Hebron to collect Palestinians’ biometric data.

According to the report that tracks Israel’s surveillance measures in the West Bank, a system called Red Wolf is scanning the faces of Palestinians without their knowledge and collecting their biometric data to create a population-wide database.

In the report titled Automated Apartheid, Amnesty International calls on the international community to regulate companies so that they are prohibited from providing surveillance technologies to Israel. “Israeli authorities are using facial recognition technology to entrench apartheid,” the report states. The  organisation is also calling for a global ban on weapon sales and military equipment to Israel.

While information about Israel’s usage of facial recognition technologies in the West Bank and Hebron has been made public by the press in the past, the current report provides new insights.o

According to the report, when Palestinians go through a checkpoint where Red Wolf is operating, their faces are scanned without their knowledge or consent, and compared with biometric entries in databases which exclusively contain information about Palestinians. If no entry exists for an individual, their face is automatically scanned and saved in the system.

The report also states that an individual will be denied entry through a checkpoint if no entry exists for them. The system could also deny entry based on other information stored on Palestinian profiles, for example, if an individual is wanted for questioning or arrest.


Israel using facial recognition technology to entrench apartheid, Amnesty International says (Haaretz)

Israel/OPT: Israeli authorities are using facial recognition technology to entrench apartheid (Amnesty International Report)

Haaretz Editorial | Israel’s Biometric Apartheid (Haaretz)

Photo: Palestinians stand in front of a biometric gate as they enter Israel at the Qalandiyah crossing in Jerusalem (Sebastian Scheiner/AP)