By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
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September 11, 2012
Just in case sand-sized micro-RFID chips aren't Minority Report-scary enough for you, perhaps we can interest you in some seriously futuristic facial recognition/face-scanning hardware/tech coming to all of us courtesy of the friendly folks at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), or as we here at DefenseReview (DR) affectionately like to call them, Fun Bunch, Inc. This latest high-definition (HD) surveillance system will come in at roughly a cool billion dollars ($1B), which, in the big scheme of (federal) things, is–let's face it (excuse the pun)–chump change. All that's required is a vast HD CCTV camera network, which is already growing daily across the country.
Of course, the Bureau's stated goal is "to reduce terrorist and criminal activities by improving and expanding biometric identification and criminal history information services through research, evaluation, and implementation of advanced technology." Sound's pretty benevolent, huh? I mean, we all want to reduce terrorism and crime, right? Very noble. They just want to make all of us safer, safer from the terrorists that are out to get us. On the downside the system can also be used to track virtually every single step every single one of us law-abiding folks takes every single day, everywhere we ever go, once we step foot out of our house or apartment. Not so good.
Hypotheticaly, there would appear to be some pretty easy counters to the technology if one really wants to evade the Man. First, there's the ubiquitous baseball cap which by itself would take some high-mounted/situated cameras out of the mix. Then, there's Tactical eyepro/shades. If individual lenses didn't do the trick, there's always visor-style eyepro. Not only will eyepro/shades cover one's occular region, they should also prevent against clandestine iris or retina scans. Theatrical makeup kits and facial hair accessories would most likely take care of the rest.
Even if someone were to do all of the above, it wouldn't save them from the new In-Q-Tel (IQT) laser-based molecular scanner tech coming down the pike at an airport and/or border crossing near you. This one can hit you from 164 feet (50 meters) away and quickly identify explosives, chem/bio weapons and, presumably, nuclear material at a distance. DR really likes this one. This is the kind of detection hardware we can really get behind.
For the record, Defense Review is not recommending or advocating the above methods of disguise or any type of evasion from law enforcement. We support law enforcement. We're merely playing devil's advocate. DR specifically supports the FBI's anti-terrorism/counterterrorism efforts wholeheartedly, and, in the interest of full disclosure, we should perhaps note that we have contacts at the Bureau. They have a tough (and complex) job, and it's only natural that they would want to use any and all tools/weapons at their disposal to fight crime and terrorism. We just hope the soon-to-be-ubiquitous facial recognition/scanning technology doesn't end up getting abused to the point that we all end up living in a Minority Report-level totalitarian state from which there is no escape, a world in which we spend virtually every waking moment under the watchful eye of data-mining supercomputers and guys sitting in front of banks of video screens.
Let's hope not.
Hat Tip: Gizmodo
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