The federal government will soon be scanning for [YOU?] via a new surveillance system that will scan crowds and automatically identify people by their faces up to 300-feet away.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will test its crowd-scanning facial recognition system, known as the Biometric Optical Surveillance System, or BOSS, at a hockey game this weekend (21-SEP-2013) at the 6,000 seat Toyota Center in Kennewick, Washington, where it hopes to achieve at least a 80 to 90-percent success rate.
If you’re planning to attend, should you think twice if you have unpaid parking tickets, etc.?
Are we facing a future when we will be identified by DHS facial recognition tracking systems as we move about in public – attending public gatherings, sporting events, or even rightful protests? While they can already track us by our cell phones, our electronic transactions and communications… they apparently will soon be able to track us even if we shed our electronic signatures…
A 5.2 million dollar contract awarded to Electronic Warfare Associates (EWA) headquartered in Herndon Virginia, a U.S. military contractor, is for a surveillance system that is apparently slated to be used here at home in America.
Some say, while a technology such as this could potentially serve to assist in safeguarding under certain situations, do we trust DHS and the other alphabet agencies to use it only for ‘good’? An increasing police/surveillance state?
Newly disclosed documents obtained under the freedom of information act, detail some of the specifics of the BOSS system as it relates to DHS.
How it works…
In theory, any names entered into the BOSS system from a “watch list” would be matched with a face from the crowd if that person was in the field of view. This raises serious concerns with privacy advocates who question… Who chooses the names? What are the criteria? Where are these systems placed? Is the information saved? For how long? Who has access to it, etc.?
Some believe that agencies like the DHS and NSA would push to have these surveillance systems installed at arenas, shopping malls, and street corners all across America.
But it’s all for your safety and security…
There’s nothing tyrannical about this whatsoever… /sarc
According to DHS, BOSS technology consists of two cameras capable of taking stereoscopic images of a face and a back end remote matching system. Stereoscopic images are two images of the same object, taken at slightly different angles that create an illusion of three-dimensional depth from two-dimensional images.
The cameras transfer the pair of images to the remote matching system by way of fiber optic or wireless technology. The system then processes and stores the two images into a 3-D signature, which is the mathematical representation of the stereo-pair images that the system uses for matching.
Using the BOSS facial recognition algorithms, the signature is matched against a locally stored database using a combination of mathematical and statistical analysis.
“Homeland Security to test BOSS facial recognition at junior hockey game”
The DHS isn’t exactly looking for terrorists at Saturday’s game in Kennewick, a small city of under 100,000 residents that’s roughly 50 miles from Walla Walla, WA. As surveillance systems are increasingly rolled out in public spaces across America, technology could soon be implemented by small-town police departments to pick people out of crowds who have been accused of essentially anything.
“This technology is always billed as anti-terrorism, but then it drifts into other applications” said Ginger McCall of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “We need a real conversation about whether and how we want this technology to be used, and now is the time for that debate.”
What say you??