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Recognition software is able to end churchgoers' anonymity

26 June 2015


CHURCHES can now track which members of their congregation are actually turning up for services thanks to new facial recognition technology.

The makers say that 30 churches around the world have installed the system, which is said to be able to match live CCTV footage with faces of parishioners saved in its database.

The program, Churchix, has been developed by a small Israeli software firm called Face-Six, and is being used in the United States, Portugal, Spain, Indonesia, and India, says Face-Six's CEO, Moshe Greenshpan.

The largest church using the technology has more than 10,000 members entered into its database, The Times reported.

The system is designed to allow church administrators, or those managing church events, to monitor how many are coming to events and services, without needing to count.

All that is needed is a high-resolution photograph of each member to be inputted into the software. It can then identify that person from footage of any event.

The software has prompted some privacy fears. The director of Big Brother Watch, Emma Carr, told The Times that churches have been able to track their congregations for centuries without becoming invasive.

"Let's hope that our places of worship remain environments where we can still expect a high level of privacy," she said.

Other programs developed by Face-Six include a smartphone app that can identify an actor or celebrity.

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