JR East facial recognition surveillance

Occurred: September 2021

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East Japan Railway Co. (JR East), Japan's largest passenger rail company, used facial recognition in metro stations across Tokyo during the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics to identify released criminals, wanted suspects, and people acting suspiciously.

However, the company's Victim Notification Service, which informed victims of crime of the identity of their attacker, later came under fire from privacy advocates concerned that the system may not be accurate and should not include released prisoners.

JR East suspended the addition of released prisoners to its database on the basis of 'insufficient social consensus building'. Japan currently has no law regulating the use of facial recognition.

Operator: East Japan Railway Co.
Developer: East Japan Railway Co.
Country: Japan
Sector: Transport/logistics
Purpose: Identify criminals and suspects
Technology: Facial recognition
Issue: Privacy; Surveillance; Ethics
Transparency: Governance; Marketing

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: September 2021