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Civil Liberties and Facial Recognition Software

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The ability of software to greatly enhance law enforcement's ability to locate criminals and terrorists has excited those in the field.
    a. Imagine being able to pick out a lone face in a field of thousands that cross in front of a surveillance camera at an airport and law enforcement personnel apprehending that person before he can have an opportunity to get on an airplane and do damage. That is what facial recognition software can do.

    b. It is already incorporated into some law enforcement databases and has located many criminals in that manner.

    c. Allows software to take the place of human's who are prone to boredom and don't have the retention ability that a database computer has.

    d. If facial recognition software had been in place before 9/11 two of the terrorists may have been recognized, alerting law enforcement and maybe changing the course of history.
Governments use of facial recognition software can't be a violation of civil rights as people have no expectation of privacy in public buildings, streets and sidewalks. They are not using this in bathrooms or person's homes.


Facial Recognition Software (FRS)is another step towards governments goal of complete control of its population.
    a. Total Survelliance Society: From the moment you step out of your house until the time you return, the government will be able to track your every move, read what you're reading, know what you're eating, who you're spending time with, making each person more conscious of their surroundings and less likely to feel free.

    b. Facial Recognition Software simply doesn't work. The Tampa Police Department has discontinued it's use of FRS because in two years it yield no criminal arrests, but hundred's of false positives.

    c. The database used to match people's faces to known terrorists is very small. Only two of the 19 hijackers in 2001 were known to the CIA. Terrorists aren't likely to raise their hands to volunteer their faces to be entered into the terrorist database.

    d. Abuse from such systems is inevitable. A few examples which have already arisen from surveillance video are: using license plates to blackmail gay married people, stalking women, tracking estranged spouses, black people are more likely to be targeted because of their color, men use surveillance as a voyeurism tool against women.
If Facial Recognition Software worked and there was a chance that it would prevent another terrorist attack, then we should investigate the opportunity. Yet, it doesn't work, so should be a moot discussion, but it's not.

Where it Stands

More law enforcement organizations are looking into the possibility of Facial Recognition Software. As the technology gets better and the accuracy of the technology improves, more organizations are going to look towards Facial Recognition Software as a solution to their problems. Which will create other problems that will affect the way our lives are lived.

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