Friday, April 01, 2011

No Surveillance Without Oversight

The FBI recently announced that its Next Generation Identification System (NGIS) has "reached its initial operating capacity". This vast new biometrics project, for which Lockheed Martin won a $1bn contract in 2008, encompasses not only fingerprints but also, possibly, such biometrics as iris scans, face recognition, bodily scars, marks and tattoos.

Such a system raises a number of concerns from a civil liberties perspective. Many types of biometrics are of particular concern because they allow individuals to be tracked secretly and at a distance. For instance, facial recognition may allow a person to be tracked by various CCTV cameras across a city. Worse, in the future, this may be automated and done by computers.'


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