Biometric Surveillance Means Someone Is Always Watching
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Newsweek
Posted: March 7th, 2021
From 2008 to 2010, as Edward Snowden has revealed, the National Security Agency (NSA) collaborated with the British Government Communications Headquarters to intercept the webcam footage of over 1.8 million Yahoo users. The agencies were analyzing images they downloaded from webcams and scanning them for known terrorists who might be using the service to communicate, matching faces from the footage to suspects with the help of a new technology called face recognition. In attempting to find faces, the Pentagon's Optic Nerve program recorded webcam sex by its unknowing targets—up to 11 percent of the material the program collected was "undesirable nudity" that employees were warned not to access. And that's just the beginning of what face recognition technology might mean for us in the digital era. The U.S. government is in the process of building the world's largest cache of face recognition data, with the goal of identifying every person in the country. The creation of such a database would mean that anyone could be tracked wherever his or her face appears, whether it's on a city street or in a mall. Today's laws don't protect Americans from having their webcams scanned for facial data. "If cameras connected to databases can do face recognition, it will become impossible to be anonymous in society," [attorney Jennifer] Lynch says. That means every person in the U.S. would be passively tracked at all times.