East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) has suspended the addition of released prisoners to its list of people tracked at its train stations by security cameras using facial recognition technology, after it started the practice this summer, it was learned Wednesday.
JR East suspended the tracking due to concerns over invasions of privacy raised from outside the company, company officials said.
According to JR East, the cameras were set up at its stations in July as part of strengthened security for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
Those subject to JR East's tracking were suspicious people wandering around stations, wanted suspects and released prisoners and parolees who had committed serious crimes at the company's stations and inside its trains.
JR East received information on the discharged prisoners and others from the Public Prosecutors Office under a system that notifies victims and managers of places where a crime occurred of a perpetrator's release from prison.
After obtaining such information, the company was going to consider whether to register their face photos on its database.
If the cameras caught the released prisoners, JR East planned to have security guards talk to them and request baggage inspections.
But JR East said it has not yet put any released prisoners on its list for tracking.
"This was limited to people who have committed serious crimes and may cause terrorism," an official explained.
JR East stopped tracking such people, as the proper use of their information has not been discussed sufficiently in Japanese society.
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