Facial recognition and biometric databases have been a reality in technology for decades, and have been used overseas by the military to assist in occupying potentially hostile populations in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.Populations there not only face the possibility of becoming a statistical civilian casualty, but are processed and tagged like cattle as well.
Now, that paradigm is coming home to roost – as spy agencies like the NSA have long planned.
Biometrics are being designed for use in mass populations here in America and throughout the Western world, not just war-torn locales. According to the NY Times: Facial recognition software, which American military and intelligence agencies used for years in Iraq and Afghanistan to identify potential terrorists, is being eagerly adopted by dozens of police departments around the country to pursue drug dealers, prostitutes and other conventional criminal suspects. But because it is being used with few guidelines and with little oversight or public disclosure, it is raising questions of privacy and concerns about potential misuse.
Already, the database is saddled by millions of people who are not criminals and have not been charged with any crime – which experts claim is reducing its effectiveness. There is about a 20% rate of false-positives which is hardly encouraging, “It is not as if there is the identification of a specific crime problem; they are simply collecting a lot of information that could impact a lot of completely innocent people,” said Michael German, a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice and a former F.B.I. agent.
The New York Times interviewed two people upset about police detaining them on street curbs to take a photo for the biometric database, while also taking such data as cheek-swabbed DNAThey weren’t arrested, but now they are being watched more closely than people realize, as increasing numbers of cameras and computer systems are beginning to utilize law enforcement biometric databases, potentially recognizing and flagging innocent people everywhere they go, and subjecting them to possible undue suspicion.
The future already holds a bleak outlook for privacy, largely promising only greater and greater levels of surveillance and control that would not only make the founding fathers roll in their graves, but would give the average person the sense that they are under watch with preemptive suspicion … even thought they’ve done nothing wrong.
Since the FBI is cutting the ribbon on its own biometric tech center, these policies are all but guaranteed to spread to departments throughout the country.
Original Story Here