Video surveillance in Porto will not have artificial intelligence recognition

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During the Municipal Assembly this Thursday, several party forces expressed concern about the video surveillance system and its relationship with artificial intelligence systems, mentioning the right to privacy. Rui Moreira says that so far this is not the case, but the situation may change.

Rui Moreira
Rui Moreira

The PSD deputy, Rodrigo Teodoro Passos, lamented the failures of the Central State power in terms of security and stressed that, this being the case, local entities have a redoubled role in ensuring the safety of the community.

Rodrigo Teodoro Passos
Rodrigo Teodoro Passos

Commenting on recent reactions to the installation of video surveillance across the city, the MP said that “freedom and security are at odds”.

In this way, the Democrat questioned the Mayor of Porto if the PSP agents, responsible for controlling and monitoring the cameras, will have access in real time and via artificial intelligence, to possible problems in the city.

“At the moment we do not have artificial intelligence models that do recognition”, assured Rui Moreira, adding that the police may understand to change their strategy, in terms of what are the instruments at their disposal.

Video surveillance in Porto will not have artificial intelligence recognition

Moreira explained that the Municipality has no other intervention after the system is set up in the city.

If technological innovation will replace human resources, CDU deputy José Manuel Varela said he had “serious doubts”, mainly because it would influence the subsequent performance of the police.

For the Socialist deputy Agostinho Sousa Pinto, “this discussion is not at the level of form, but rather in the type of life that each one wants for himself, for the sake of security”. “This is another protection instrument, but it can also call into question the reality of each citizen, namely privacy”, underlined the PS deputy.

The Mayor of Porto stressed: “We cannot enter the room. We don’t have any access. What I know is that the means do not allow us to make facial identification”.

Very critical of the invasion of privacy, Left Bloc MP Susana Constante Pereira said that this system “does not allow the person to choose not to be filmed”.

According to the blocist, “there is a large number of residents who have expressed discomfort because of this system”: “Information work is needed so that there are no doubts”.

More cameras could mean a reduction in neighbourhood policing, as most MPs said.

According to the Mayor of Porto, “nothing replaces human resources”: “We need to have human resources, qualified, motivated. To live in a society where the presence of the police among us is a normal fact, and not only when a crime has happened”.

MP Pedro Schuller, from Rui Moreira’s movement, also stressed that “putting freedom before security is guaranteeing a good dose of both”, reaffirming the words of the mayor of Porto that the video surveillance system in the city “is a compromise between very important values”.

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