July 23, 2024

Security Pix

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New security tech at the Mall of America

3 min read

MOA said new facial recognition technology will help identify persons who may be a threat, those identified by law enforcement and missing people.

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — The largest mall in America is rolling out new, cutting-edge technology to help with mall security. 

Advanced facial recognition technology is now part of the security system at the Mall of America. According to a press release, MOA said the facial recognition would be used to locate a person of interest (POI). 

A person of interest, according to the mall, is someone currently trespassing, those who may pose a threat, people identified by law enforcement or anyone who is missing or may be in danger. 

The technology works by matching photos uploaded into the system. MOA said the system only searches for matches to POI photos and if the technology doesn’t record a match no data is stored. The tech doesn’t track or keep any information on non-PIOs, the mall said. 

MOA said the software system issues an alert if there is a match and the security team then conducts a thorough investigation, including a “traditional” facial recognition check with up to three layers of human visual review. Security team members have been extensively trained by an internationally recognized program, the Mall of America said. 

“Our security team prides itself on keeping everyone who walks through our doors safe so we can provide the best possible guest experience,” said Will Bernhjelm, Vice President of Security at Mall of America in a statement to media. “At 5.6 million square feet, our officers cannot be everywhere at once.”

“Utilizing this cutting-edge technology will allow us to more quickly do what we are already doing: identifying individuals of interest and keeping Mall of America and its guests safe,” he added. “We take safety very seriously and we are continually evolving our strategies to enhance our security efforts.”

Public opinion of facial recognition technology has not all been positive. In June 2023, a man sued Bloomington Police and Hennepin County after he was wrongly arrested and charged with a crime that occurred at MOA that he didn’t commit. 

The lawsuit claimed that Hennepin County officials used facial recognition technology to ID and arrest the wrong man. 

Facial recognition company Corsight was selected by MOA and the mall said the technology was tested by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and in testing by the DHS, the algorithm correctly identified individuals 99.3% of the time.

Security concerns have been raised in the past at the Mall of America and following a fatal shooting in 2022, the mall added metal detectors and more security officers. 

RELATED: MOA now using gun-detecting dogs

RELATED: Bloomington, MOA leaders propose plans to construct reimagined waterpark

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