West Bank Palestinians between “Blue” and “Red Wolf” and “Monitor and Kill” applications

Umm Nasser says her home in Hebron, in the occupied West Bank, has four rotating cameras on the four corners of the roof that monitor “any of our movements,” noting that this surveillance, enhanced by artificial intelligence, “and Has become more difficult. According to Agence France-Presse, since the beginning of the war.

The agency reviewed the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank in light of surveillance technology. Umm Nasser, a 55-year-old Palestinian who lives near the Abu al-Rish checkpoint, a site where violent confrontations often occur in the city of Hebron. Israeli forces and Palestinians said, “I am psychologically exhausted.”

The barrier separates Palestinian roads from enclaves where residents live in the Old City, including a disputed holy site known to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque and to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs.

The site is guarded by dozens of heavily armed Israeli soldiers and numerous surveillance cameras, which Umm Nasser considers a blatant intrusion. “We decided to put up wood to maintain some privacy. The army came and demolished whatever was on the roof and removed the wood,” she says.

He further added, “Once, the army took away our ID cards and told us that facial fingerprints of all family members would be recorded, but we don't know what happened after that.”

As for Shai Cohen, a 23-year-old Israeli resident, he says cameras “help a lot” in making us feel safe.

Israel is proud of its leading cyber industry, surveillance technology systems, and the advanced weapons it produces. According to the agency, while many civilian projects use facial recognition technology, the Israeli military uses other advanced equipment in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.

Israeli crossings are closed to Palestinian workers.  Al-Dhahiriya - Hebron - Mitar Crossing - Al Jazeera Net Archive -
“Red Wolf” is a program integrated with the system checkpoints (Al Jazeera)

Blue and Red Wolf for automated monitoring

Among these devices is the “Blue Wolf” application, which soldiers use to photograph Palestinians' faces with their phones before comparing the images to a database that indicates whether the person is wanted.

Sophia Goodfriend, a doctoral student specializing in artificial intelligence and human rights, explains that the system is part of a “frictionless business strategy” adopted by the Israeli military, and is based on “automated surveillance technology that often relies on artificial intelligence and its The goal is to reduce interactions between soldiers and Palestinians.

According to an Amnesty International investigation last May, the Red Wolf system was scheduled to be deployed in 2022, and is a program integrated with checkpoints.

Issa Amr, a human rights activist, says, “Even before I reached the checkpoint, the soldiers knew I was red, which meant I posed a threat… which is an additional insult, because our photos were taken without our consent. are taken, and we don't do that.” Know how the data is used.

The army also announced in late 2022 that it was testing a surveillance system equipped with anti-riot equipment developed by the private company “Smart Shooter”. This remote-controlled system can: Fire non-lethal bullets, according to the Army.

The agency says it tried to communicate with the Israeli side to learn how the surveillance system developed by Smart Shooter works, but the Israeli military did not respond.

Jerusalem – Al-Aqsa Mosque – Friday Prayer, January 5, 2024 – Special to Al Jazeera Net
In East Jerusalem, facial recognition technology is specifically implemented during demonstrations (Al Jazeera)

Concerned about using technology to kill

The “Breaking the Silence” group, which opposes the Israeli occupation, believes that this automation of surveillance technologies “increases the effectiveness” of surveillance campaigns at the expense of “stripping the humanity of Palestinians” for the occupation. Makes it easier to drive. ,

Human rights defender Adel, who uses a pseudonym due to security concerns, says: “The purpose of this system is to spread anxiety and fear. Our behavior and activities are scrutinized, and there is also a system that tracks our car license plates. “

Adel lives in East Jerusalem, where facial recognition technology is particularly used during demonstrations, he said.

He recounts that “one day during a search operation, whole pages of data appeared on the tablet” that the soldiers were using, adding that “they referred me to an arrest that had taken place years ago, which the judiciary had I was acquitted.”

Tension has been rising in the West Bank since last October 7, the day the Islamic resistance movement “Hamas” launched Operation Al-Aqsa Flood and the subsequent Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip, resulting in the deaths of 27,585 people. The majority of whom were women and children, according to the latest counts from Hamas' health ministry.

In mid-November allegations were made that Israeli forces were using facial recognition technology in Gaza. Video clips showed crowds of Palestinians running south through gates set up by the army, and the Palestinian Wafa news agency reported the presence of “smart” cameras in the courtyard of al-Shifa hospital.

The Israeli military says it is “conducting security and intelligence operations” as part of the war. In the past, Israel was talking about automated operating systems for drones and four-wheel drive vehicles for patrolling the border with the Gaza Strip.

During the 7 October attack, Hamas fighters at the separation fence destroyed remote-firing camera and machine gun systems.

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