The year 2020 was an extremely challenging year – not least for the Biometrics Research community. In 2019, The National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research was released in Australia by the National Health and Medical Research Council. For the first time AI and Biometrics technologies were specifically included within the ethics framework for medical research. The statement is very clear that biometrics data collection is only permissible with the full, knowing consent of all participants. This not only applies to the operation of the systems but also applies to training and development of the systems. There is no exemption for datasets provided by third parties overseas. In effect this ethical framework means that no Australian Biometric Researchers can use large face datasets scraped from the internet even though these are the de facto standard for modern biometrics research based on AI technologies.
This requirement has directly led to my group’s recent development of the EDITH (Ethical Dataset of Interactive Training Heads) which is intended to be a fully ethical database which allows face biometrics research to continue under the new ethics framework. While we were in the process of developing our technologies for ethical data generation, the COVID-19 pandemic occurred. It turned out that our Edith dataset was perfect for the emerging worldwide problem of the recognition of people wearing face masks due to the pandemic.
We will discuss the ethical challenges and technologies arising and also discuss an advanced edge face recognition system based on our technologies that is now being rolled out internationally to address modern surveillance requirements.
Brian C. Lovell was born in Brisbane, Australia in 1960. He received the BE in electrical engineering in 1982, the BSc in computer science in 1983, and the PhD in signal processing in 1991: all from the University of Queensland (UQ). Professor Lovell is Director of the Advanced Surveillance Group in the School of ITEE, UQ. He was President of the International Association for Pattern Recognition (IAPR) [2008-2010], and is Fellow of the IAPR, Senior Member of the IEEE, and voting member for Australia on the Governing Board of the IAPR. He was General Co-Chair of the International Conference on Biometrics (ICB2018) Gold Coast, Australia and was Program Co-Chair of the International Conference of Pattern Recognition (ICPR2016) in Cancún Mexico, and was General Co-Chair of the IEEE International Conference on Image Processing in Melbourne, 2013. His interests include non-cooperative Face Recognition, Surveillance, robust face detection, Biometrics, and Pattern Recognition. His work in biometrics and surveillance has won numerous international awards including the prestigious Best CCTV System at IFSEC2011, Birmingham for Face in the Crowd recognition. He also won the Asia Pacific ICT Trophy for Best R&D in the Asia Pacific Region in Phuket, Thailand in 2011.