Big Brother-style facial recognition software is now being rolled out to Churches across the world, as an Israeli company trials its program in 30 religious institutions.
Churchix is a facial recognition software sold by the Face-Six company.
CEO, Moshe Greenshpan, told IBTimes UK, “In the beginning I was surprised. We never thought of churches as potential clients, but we now understand the need. Most churches do already keep track of their members“.
Churchix uses CCTV footage or photos to match churchgoers against a database of high-resolution pictures that a church has to compile on its own. The software can be used to monitor attendance numbers, and alert church officials if some members stops coming to services. It can also screen for people banned from the church, Greenshpan explained.
He would not identify the churches that use the software, citing the controversial nature of the technology. Facial recognition is considered too invasive a tool by privacy advocates, allowing governments and companies to track people offline on the same scale that electronic surveillance is conducted today.
Churchix works better when used openly, with visitors passing a ‘checkpoint’ and voluntarily registering by looking into a camera. This would give 99-percent accuracy, the company says. But apparently the users prefer not to draw unwanted attention to the tracking software.
“I don’t think churches tell people,” Greenshpan told Fusion TV channel. “We encourage them to do so, but I don’t think they do.”
Greenshpan, however, insists his software is not a game changer, as churches have been tracking their congregants manually for ages. Churchix only makes it possible for medium and large churches, he explains.
Facial recognition technology and other biometric identification tools are outpacing attempts to regulate them. In the US, only Illinois and Texas have laws that demand consent of the people, and in both cases they predate the emergence of facial recognition.
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