Software Uses Existing Cameras to Determine if COVID-19 Safety Rules Are Respected

A company in France has developed a piece of software that’s going to used to determine if people are wearing masks and if social distancing is respected. The twist is that it can be enabled on existing systems, turning regular cameras into a smart ecosystem with tracking capabilities.

The ability to use people-tracking software has been deployed already in various parts of the world, with varying success. The problem in Europe is that such surveillance systems would be difficult to implement because of strict privacy regulations.

According to a BBC report, the new video surveillance system is being tested in Cannes, a city on the famous Côte d’Azur. The main targets are outdoor markets and busses, but it can be easily be extended to any place with cameras.

The software, developed by a company named Datakalab, walks a very fine line when it comes to people’s privacy. The software itself doesn’t use facial recognition, or at least not in the usual way. The company says that no image is stored or transmitted.

But the system is perfectly capable of sending alerts directly to city authorities and the Police when people don’t respect the social distances and mask-wearing rules. David Lisnard, Cannes’ Mayor, says that the system will only be used to provide a mathematical analysis and to help authorities see if the rules are obeyed.

As it stands, France is supposed to relax some of its lockdown rules on May 11. A smart software system that integrates with existing networks, in public spaces, shopping centers, and more, is going to become useful, assuming strict EU privacy rules are respected.

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