In order to enforce the headscarf requirement, the Iranian government relies on the surveillance of public spaces using video cameras, including those from Germany. According to activists, biometric facial recognition software is also involved. The authorities have expanded their control system with relevant technologies, Raha Bahreini from Amnesty International told ARD. After receiving a speeding ticket via SMS based on the evaluation of video material, many women would have to give up their car for several weeks. Travel bans and fines often followed.
Bosch supplied cameras
In practice, for example, there is a camera on every street corner in downtown Tehran, the SWR refers to the findings of a group of Iranian opposition figures. Cameras from the Chinese manufacturer Tiandy are the most widespread. However, models from Bosch that have been installed for traffic monitoring are also used again and again. In the video of a hack of relevant devices in the Tehran area, a software interface from the Stuttgart company could also be seen. Cameras from Dutch and Swedish companies are also used.
The SWR also quotes from a document according to which a training course was organized by “Bosch Security” and an Iranian sales partner at Khatam University in Tehran in 2017. Topics should therefore have been about “Face Recognition”, “Face Detection” and the intelligent tracking (tracking) of objects. The paper named one of Bosch’s sales managers for the Middle East as the trainer.
Evidence in court soon
According to the report, Bosch confirmed that it had delivered a total of around 8,000 security cameras to Iran between 2016 and 2018. However, no Bosch employee has ever conducted a course on “Face Recognition” at the university mentioned. The devices sold in the country could also not be used for fully automatic face recognition because the software required for this was not preinstalled. According to the Iranian activists, the analysis system comes from the Danish security company Milestone Systems. This admitted to having sold software solutions to Iranian customers until 2019. Among them was the XProtect program, which works with cameras from technology partner Bosch, for example.
Bahreini appeals to the companies involved to do their due diligence and ensure that the technologies they sell cannot be used to violate human rights. According to Shima Ghousheh, another Iranian lawyer, video recordings from security cameras, among other things, are to be officially recognized as evidence in court in the future and the penalties for violating the requirement to wear a headscarf will be tightened. In the worst case, there is a risk of execution. According to Bosch, it has no influence on how the cameras are used. There have been no business relations with Iran since 2019. One adheres to the applicable export regulations.
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