By Aaron Kesel
The rise of facial recognition technology is inevitable and, as a result, the death of one’s privacy is sure to come with it.
For the past few months, this writer has focused on facial recognition technology. From Amazon helping law enforcement with its Facial Rekogntion software, DHS wanting to use it for border control, to the Olympics wanting to use the tech for security.
Even retail is pushing for the technology as an anti-theft mechanism to be introduced in a number of stores using biometric facial recognition software FaceFirst to build a database of shoplifters, as Activist Post reported.
As previously written “we are entering the Minority Report; there is no going back after this technology is public and citizens are indoctrinated that it’s ‘for their safety.’”
At that point, we are officially trading liberty and privacy for security. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
I also previously expressed that the technology would expand beyond just retail stores and border checkpoints.
Now here comes the vindication. Recently, a new MTA test program announced they will enable cameras near bridges, tunnels, and roadways in New York to recognize the faces of drivers and passengers.
“These systems allow for a continuous, real-time scanning of people’s identities and location tracking,” Schwarz said. “It really would be detrimental to our civil rights and liberties as it would continuously know where people are moving.”
Although, the MTA notes the project is just a trial and states the technology isn’t rolling out. Anyone can clearly see that this technology is indeed rolling out and going mainstream in society.
However, apparently, the groundwork was laid in September 2017, when large metal pylons were erected near tunnel entrances in New York City. A closer look inside the towers revealed large bundles of cables. Activist Post at the time asked the question if these could be radiation detection devices?
An MTA spokesperson explained how the once-unknown towers fit in with the plan for “cashless tolling.” The towers hold technology that was formerly inside the toll booths, including Homeland Security-related technology. The MTA says the technology isn’t planned to be rolled out as a protective measure and it’s just a trial.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced another facial comparison technical trial will be held at San Luis Port of Entry for pedestrian travelers. All this in an effort to test and evaluate taking photographs of those who are walking into the United States and comparing those images to photographs associated with the travel documents.
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“This technical demonstration will help inform the agency on next steps to developing and implementing biometric entry/exit in the land border pedestrian environment,” said Petra Horne, Acting Director of Field Operations, Tucson Field Office, in a recent news release. “Similar to how this technology has had a positive impact on traffic flow in the air environment, we anticipate the same in the pedestrian environment.”
Even ID document requirements are being pushed for air travel by the DHS without ever having been approved by Congress or authorized by law, Papers Please reported.
Last week the World Privacy Forum submitted a petition for rulemaking asking the DHS to “provide formal notice and solicit public comments pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act” before proceeding with further “trials” of biometric identification of travelers:
The biometric entry and exit program requires new information collections and uses from CBP, TSA, and additional non-governmental information collection by the airlines. Moreover, the consequences for all the individuals affected by this new procedure are profound and not limited solely to use by CBP itself. First, other government agencies will also use the biometric data. Second, biometric information collected by the airlines and held in their possession does not fall under the protections of the Privacy Act of 1974 . The airlines, even though they are presumably collecting biometric information for use by CBP, can subsequently use the information for secondary purposes unrelated to the CBP.
All of these matters create new, significant intrusions on privacy and create meaningful changes that impose upon millions of members of the public to a degree that requires notice-and-comment rulemaking….
The time for notice and comment under the APA is right now, not later. It is already late, and an expanded Phase II pilot should not proceed further without a public notice and comment period . II. The biometric entry and exit program constitutes a meaningful, nation-wide implementation, and no longer qualifies as a “pilot ” or technical demonstration. The biometric entry and exit program, which CBP describes as a “technical demonstration”…, is currently in 16 total US airports…. In 2018, the program is set to roll out to all US airports with international flights….
The CBP entry and exit program can no longer reasonably be described as merely a pilot or demonstration project…. DHS has deployed the technology now for several years, and plans to deploy it in 2018 in every airport in the US with international flights. This is not what a pilot test looks like.
A key problem when it comes to using the technology inside airports is the lack of restrictions on how airlines, airport operators, and other commercial third parties can use or disclose data collected under government mandate.
Elsewhere in the world, facial recognition and the use of biometrics can be seen all over starting to emerge. In Malta, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat recently confirmed plans to implement facial recognition into the CCTV surveillance cameras around the country’s zones.
“The police are doing a good job but there’s a lot of work that still needs to be done to step up enforcement,” Muscat said in an interview on ONE Radio today. “We are looking into safe city concepts to prevent antisocial behaviour, whereby CCTV systems with technology that can identify law-breakers can do away with the need to have police stationed 24/7 in certain areas.”
Meanwhile, China is planning to merge its 170+ million security cameras with artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology to create a mega-surveillance state. This compounds with China’s “social credit system” that ranks citizens based on their behavior, and rewards and punishes depending on those scores.
Consent to be identified by the government whenever and wherever we go is approval to have the government decide whether, when, and where we are allowed to travel. Put bluntly: it is very dangerous.
The scary part is that intelligence agencies would be able to use their surveillance dragnet interlinked into CCTV cameras and companies like Facebook that utilize the technology to track someone’s location in real time.
Also Read: Military and U.S. Law Enforcement Establishing Joint Communication Network for Biometric Databases
Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Minds, Steemit, SoMee, BitChute, Facebook and Twitter. Ready for solutions? Subscribe to our premium newsletter Counter Markets.