Wearing a mask in the metro detected by surveillance cameras

Two weeks ago, the mayor of Cannes welcomed the fact that 74% of the people of Cannes wear a protective mask in the three main markets of the city. How could he say it? Quite simply because since April 23, surveillance cameras placed in markets in the city of Cannes integrate a mask detection function. An initiative then extended to the local bus line (Palmbus).

Behind this innovation, we find the start-up French  Datakalab , specializing in Artificial Intelligence , and the RATP decided to trust him to perform a test in the Paris metro, specifically at Châtelet, a true ”  hub  ” where meet hundreds of thousands of people every day. Since Monday 11 May, deconfinement has been launched in France and the wearing of a mask is compulsory in public transport. Six cameras are therefore placed at strategic locations to verify that the wearing of the mask is respected, and thus to give assessments.

Soon in stadiums and airports?

Reported to the CNIL , this “experiment” will be carried out over three months, and the number of cameras is expected to double. In addition, users are warned of the presence of cameras by stickers. Quoted by  Le Monde, the RATP specifies that it is not a question of making the police, and of apprehending people not wearing masks, but quite simply of having statistical data.

In reality, the images from the cameras are transmitted to external computers, where an algorithm is responsible for sorting the faces with and without a mask. As in Cannes, Datakalab specifies that the videos are not preserved, nor diffused and that there is no stage of recognition of identity. “

It fully complies with the GDPR standards, which proves that great resources can be used to guarantee health security while protecting personal data. The images are processed locally in 100 ms and no image is stored. This technology is simple and can be deployed anywhere, in public spaces, hospitals, transport, stations, airports, shopping centers or stadiums,  ”explains the start-up in its press release.

Express anonymization

In the privacy policy document, we speak of “anonymization at very short notice”: “ Only your image is processed, to the exclusion of all other personal data. Your image is anonymized at very short notice: that is to say, it is transformed in real-time into online completely anonymous (non-identifying) data. These data are stored and aggregated progressively on the local computer’s RAM before being sent to Datakalab’s secure servers. This strict image anonymization and data aggregation process makes it impossible to identify you directly or indirectly. “

In Cannes, it should also be noted that the system is linked to municipal employees. Alerted by SMS or email, the latter have the possibility of going to the monitored places to distribute additional masks or encourage people without masks to wear them. An action difficult to implement in the metro facing the flow of passengers, but perhaps in the coming days, according to statistics, we will see RATP agents distributing masks at the entrances to the stations.