FC: ACLU feature on facecams in airports, DOD "Ferret" system

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Thu Nov 01 2001 - 06:08:45 PST

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    Politech facecam archive:
    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 21:30:01 -0500
    From: Barry Steinhardt <BSteinhardtat_private>
    To: declanat_private
    Cc: jstanleyat_private, ewhitfieldat_private
    Subject: ACLU Feature on Face Recognition
    Many FC list members may remember the use of video surveillance and the
    biometric face recognition at last year's Super Bowl. This chilling combo
    is now being contemplated for use at airports.
    The ACLU has just posted a special web feature on face recognition. An
    excerpt appears below.
    The full feature can be found at
    Barry Steinhardt
    The terrorist attacks of September 11 have led airports and other
    institutions to look for new ways of improving security, many of which the
    American Civil Liberties Union supports.
    However, we believe that the use of intrusive new surveillance
    technologies must be subjected to a process of thoughtful and deliberate
    scrutiny. In particular, a technology's intrusiveness must be balanced
    against the security benefits it would bring. The burden is on the
    technologists to demonstrate that their solutions will actually be
    effective in making us safer.
    On solution that is under consideration at a number of airports is to
    conduct widespread video surveillance of airport patrons and to use "face
    recognition" technology - dubbed "Ferret" by the Department of Defense -
    in an effort to check the identity of passengers. But it is abundantly
    clear that the security benefits of such an approach would be minimal to
    non-existent, for a very simple reason: the technology doesn't work
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