Facial Recognition System at Karachi Airport Becomes Non-Functional

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The advanced facial recognition cameras, which were strategically installed at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport to identify suspects and wanted individuals, have reportedly ceased operations.

Installed a few months ago at the international departure section of the Karachi airport, the facial recognition system aimed to prevent suspected and wanted individuals from escaping the country. The system, initially implemented as the first phase of an initiative, had plans for expansion to other international airports throughout the country.

Reports have alleged that the non-operational status of the advanced system resulted from the perceived “lack of interest” on the part of appointed authorities, playing a crucial role in its failure to function.

It’s noteworthy that in March 2023, control of the modern facial recognition cameras at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport was handed over to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). A dedicated control room was established at the airport for continuous monitoring of passengers and visitors through the high-tech camera system, with FIA immigration officers assuming control.

Supported by Japan, high-resolution cameras were installed at airports in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, and Multan to capture images of every person entering the terminal building. These advanced cameras, with the aid of Japanese technology, were designed to render 60 percent of blurred images recognizable.

In the event of a suspect or wanted person, the relevant image would be promptly displayed in the alarm monitoring room, accompanied by the corresponding camera number. This system was intended to facilitate swift actions by authorities in stopping or apprehending individuals of interest.

The replacement of faulty cameras was estimated to cost $3,000 within a three-year period following activation, with the responsible institution being held accountable for any malfunctions in the system. The apparent cessation of operations raises concerns about the efficacy and maintenance of such crucial security measures at one of Pakistan’s major international airports.

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