AnyVision 'Google Ayosh' Palestinian surveillance
Occurred: October 2019
An 'advanced tactical surveillance' system called Better Tomorrow is being used by the Israelis across the West Bank and East Jerusalem to monitor the movement of Palestinians and deter attacks.
NBC News reported that the system, developed by Israeli technology company AnyVision (latterly re-branded as Oosto) and otherwise known as 'Google Ayosh', uses facial recognition to identify individuals, including women and children. The news attracted attention as Microsoft has invested in the company. Former AnyVision employees told NBC that the company failed to comply with Microsoft's ethical principles.
In March 2020 Microsoft divested its USD 74 million stake in AnyVision after protests by its employees and an audit led by former US Attorney General Eric Holder which concluded that 'the technology is used at border crossing checkpoints between Israel and the West Bank', whilst noting that 'available evidence demonstrated that AnyVision’s technology has not previously and does not currently power a mass surveillance program in the West Bank that has been alleged in media reports.'
AnyVision CEO Eylon Etshtein had previously denied any knowledge of the system and threatened to sue NBC News, saying that AnyVision was the 'most ethical company known to man,' disputed that the West Bank was 'occupied' and alleged NBC must have been funded by a Palestinian activist group.
Operator: Israel Defense Forces
Developer: Oosto/AnyVision Interactive Technologies
Sector: Govt - military; Govt - security
Purpose: Population surveillance
Technology: Facial recognition
Issue: Ethics; Surveillance; Privacy
Transparency: Governance; Privacy
Published: March 2023