Germany: Facial recognition software will identify terrorists

Germany will start testing facial recognition software in an attempt to help police identify and locate terror suspects.

Nissan Tzur ,

Berlin police
Berlin police

Germany will start testing facial recognition software at a Berlin train station this summer in an attempt to help police identify and locate terror suspects more quickly, the country's Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said on Saturday, according to The Local.

He said the software would be tested with volunteers at Berlin's Suedkreuz station, and if successful would be expanded to other locations and also used for a range of criminal investigations.

"We already have video surveillance in train stations, of course. But we aren't able, for example, to put a picture of a terrorist on the run into software that would alert us when he appears in a station," Maiziere was quoted as having said in an interview with the Tagesspiegel newspaper.

"If this software proves reliable, it should be able to be used for serious crimes in other places equipped with surveillance cameras," he added.

The Tagesspiegel report said the new system was unlikely to run into legal obstacles since its use would be limited to targeting suspects, and so would not infringe upon civil liberties of people not sought in an investigation.

Germany remains under a high-threat terrorist alert following a series of attacks on the country over the past year.

In the first attack, a 17-year-old Afghani with an axe attacked passengers on a train in Wurzburg before being shot dead by security forces.

In the second incident, an attacker set off a bomb in a restaurant in Ansbach, killing himself and wounding 12 others.

The most serious attack took place in December, when terrorist Anis Amri drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring 48. The Islamic State (ISIS) later claimed responsibility for the attack.