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19 June 2017

German police will give you €25 if you give your face to the government

A surveillance camera is pictured as people pass by in the background in a shopping mall in central Berlin, Germany.
A surveillance camera is pictured as people pass by in the background in a shopping mall in central Berlin, Germany.

Image: felipe TRUEBA/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

Federal police in Germany want you to hand over your face, but you’ll get to do a little shopping in return. 

German police want 275 volunteers to participate in a facial recognition beta test. In exchange volunteers will receive €25 Amazon gift cards

For the test, the police are asking participants to visit the Berlin Südkreuz train station several times a day, and the folks who visit the most during the six-month testing period are eligible for “one of three attractive prizes“: an AppleTalk Series 2, a Fitbit Surge, and a GoPro Hero session.

“In the future, the facial recognition software is to recognize and report detected users or persons from whom a danger could arise or emerge,” explains the German federal police, according to a Chrome translation of their website. “Operators can subsequently take targeted action against the person within the scope of the legal possibilities.”

Volunteers will have to turn over some photos and “personal details” to the police, which the police says will be deleted after a year. Those volunteers will also have to carry a “transponder” about the size of a credit card. The transponder gives police the location of their volunteers, which allows them to know whether their software identified the correct person. (If their software says it identified Jane at 4:12 p.m., but Jane was at home at that time, police know they have some work to do.) 

Anyone with a transponder will also be asked to walk through the parts of the station that will be marked as areas under facial recognition surveillance. Anyone who doesn’t want their face captured by the software is advised to, ya know, just avoid the areas. 

The police will start testing their facial recognition software on Aug. 1. 

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