KMD’s image recognition technology aims to stop dangerous and illegal protective equipment for sale online in the EU

Under tighter restrictions and a closed retail trade, more consumers are shopping online. Personal protective equipment is among the goods that consumers demand, and it is essential that the products are legal and safe. That is why the European Commission will start using artificial intelligence, in the form of KMD image recognition technology, to protect consumers from dangerous and illegal goods.

Fabric facemasks and face shields are popular items during the pandemic – also in the online trade. The fight against COVID-19 is far from over and requires a high level of personal protection. But if the protective equipment is not legal and safe, it gives a false sense of safety. That is why the European Commission now has a particular focus on this area.

Because the online sale is so extensive today, it would take enormous resources to review goods with human resources. The capacity can instead be found in the use of artificial intelligence to be responsible for screening, image recognition and reporting of hits to the authorities.

Helping 450 million EU citizens towards safe online shopping

The fight against dangerous products for sale online will be launched later in 2021 across the EU. The solution from KMD has been selected by the EU Commission to assist all EU countries' market surveillance authorities in the form of a common tool: SAFE. This will help 450 million EU citizens to shop safely online.

"Image recognition is an area where artificial intelligence has taken quantum leaps in recent years. We now see how much value it can create when we protect consumers from dangerous products. The algorithm is constantly getting better at sifting the market online for goods that are problematic, and with the results we have in the Danish version, online shoppers across the EU face a safer future,” says Merete Søby, Director of Data Driven Solutions at KMD.

EU has a common database of images of dangerous goods that SAFE will use. If an item is marked as dangerous in e.g. Germany, there will be a hit when SAFE recognizes the image on a Danish website. At the time of the hit, the tool sends a message to the authorities, after which the authorities can take steps to prevent the sale of the specific item by blocking the website and sanctioning the company behind.

“SAFE (AIME) can be a hard nut to crack for the black market. If a shop with illegal products exists on the public internet, it can be found by SAFE. And if it can be found, it will be analyzed by the program. At this moment SAFE can overpass security on webpages and analyze data what is interested. Thereby, we hope that there will be no place for the black market to hide from SAFE,” says Adrien Szeń, Azure & .NET Developer in KMD Poland.

AIME has been in the hand of the Danish Safety Technology Authority since autumn 2020

Image recognition with artificial intelligence is one of the tools that the Danish Safety Technology Authority has had since autumn 2020. The software solution behind the EU tool SAFE is called AIME and is developed by KMD with the aim of identifying illegal and dangerous products for sale online.

“Before we developed AIME, people were responsible for analyzing hundreds of webpages with potential illegal products. That carried the human factor like oversight or tiredness. Now AIME can analyze those websites for us much quicker and tell us on which websites exactly this product is selling with pointed score of probability," says Adrien Szeń, Azure & .NET Developer in KMD Poland.

In practice, the Danish Safety Technology Authority initiates a product search for a piece of specific protective equipment based on, for example, an image, or the Agency performs a screening of the market by searching for general terms such as "face mask". AIME identifies all the webshops in which "face mask" is mentioned. Subsequently, the Danish Safety Technology Authority’s caseworkers take out relevant products for testing. During a busy time when the work is of great health and safety importance, it has been a solid help for the Danish Safety Technology Authority:

"We are doing more and more online shopping, and with COVID-19 restrictions and quarantine, the trend has increased. It’s smart that you can buy goods from all over the world with a few clicks away, but it can be difficult for the consumer to see whether a product is legal and safe. Therefore, protection is needed to help identifying dangerous goods and to prevent these from being sold. This is where artificial intelligence can create greater consumer safety," says Lone Saaby, Director of the Danish Safety Technology Authority.

In the case of personal protective equipment, the Danish Safety Technology Authority has already used the AIME program to find specific products 74 times. In this way, AIME has carried out a piece of work that would otherwise have been produced manually.