‘Blue Wolf’: Israel Employs Massive Facial Recognition Program in Hebron

An Israeli military checkpoint in occupied West Bank. (Photo: B'Tselem Camera Project video footage)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

The Israeli army is using a massive facial recognition program in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron (Al-Khalil), a Washington Post report revealed on Monday. 

According to the Washington Post, the Israeli military has been using a facial recognition smartphone technology called Blue Wolf for the past two years, through which Israeli soldiers take photos of Palestinians’ faces and match them to a database.

According to the Post, the database contains thousands of photos and the Israeli army has installed face-scanning cameras at Israeli military checkpoints as well. Using this system, Israeli soldiers identify Palestinians before they even present their ID cards and, on the basis of prior information about them, they detain them when the app sends an alert.

A recently discharged Israeli soldier told the Post: “I wouldn’t feel comfortable if they used it in the mall in (my hometown), let’s put it that way,” adding: “People worry about fingerprinting, but this is that, several times over.”

“In the past, Israel used basic technologies to identify Palestinians who take part in protests and mobilize the people in various popular activities. TV news footage or newspaper photos were thoroughly deciphered,” Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle Ramzy Baroud wrote in a recent article, adding, “That old technique was eventually replaced by more advanced technology”.

“Thousands of Palestinians were detained and hundreds were assassinated in recent years as a result of drones data, analyzed through Israel’s burgeoning facial recognition software,” Baroud concluded.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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