I just read yet another fascinating and disturbing article by Alternet's Tana Ganeva - someone I've sourced on this blog before. The article in question, which certainly connects to many of the issues I've written on here over the years, is entitled "7 Privacy Threats the Constitution Can't Protect You Against".
Now, let's go through each, and I'll mix in some of what I have written on these topics in the past (and others I've cited), along with what Tana does in her article.
I'm still not convinced however, that this general support for such technological surveillance is a done deal, and the argument in favor of FEWER cameras in FEWER locations is a lost one. I believe this to be true for a couple reasons. One, most Americans have no concept of just how often they are being watched or worse, for what purposes. Two, few Americans have any idea the level of abuses such "watchers" are capable of...and if the Bush Administration has taught us anything its that we can't trust government when they are given more power than they know what to do with. My guess is we are just scratching the surface, on issues ranging from wiretapping to surveillance to monitoring, and when that surface is broken, public opinion might just change on this topic.
As for the larger concern over facial recognition technology, groups from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) to the ACLU to the Electronic Frontier Foundation to EPIC have all been very active in making the case that there is a very real threat to privacy at stake in determining just how, and when, this technology can be used.
Again, going back to a prior post, I wrote: "First, let me refresh everyone on the concept of biometric identifiers - like fingerprints, facial, and/or iris scans. These essentially match an individual’s personal characteristics against an image or database of images. Initially, the system captures a fingerprint, picture, or some other personal characteristic, and transforms it into a small computer file (often called a template). The next time someone interacts with the system, it creates another computer file.