September 09, 2002
Be Afraid, for Big Brother is coming closer

Metafilter reports:

A high school in Santee California has implemented "security procedures" that would do Mr. Orwell proud. Wireless cameras the face and license plate of every driver and car entering the parking lot. If you go to the bathroom, your picture gets logged. Hall monitors will soon carry wireless computers that can pull up a student's school picture and class schedule. And they are considering implementing face recognition software.
Referenced story from LA Times: A High School Where the Sensorship Is Pervasive

As I also mentioned in the story about implanting chpis to track missing children, such measuers may seem reasonable at first, but when such technology becomes widespread, the unintentional, negative effects may overshadow the benefits. LA Times writes:

Companies like the fact that students enjoy fewer constitutional protections than adults and have lower expectations of privacy than their parents.

For many students, such surveillance is standard, with cameras at every bank ATM and many fast-food drive-throughs.

But the desire to protect has led to an erosion of individual privacy, civil liberties advocates argue.

"Once privacy is gone, you can't get it back," said Dale Kelly Bankhead, a spokeswoman for the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial counties. "This is not just about schools, but about a broader social attitude."

Now fast forward 20 years to a society where this or similar technology is everywhere. Imagine some major company offering schools and other sites with similar equipment a small, yet significant enough to consider, amount in exchange for having access to the recordings made during a day. Facial recognition, even on a large scale, is possible already today, and put into system using feeds from all over; corporations may be able to easily track anyone they wish - anywhere - at any time.

Paranoid? I don't know... Although some of the elements in the film "Enemy of the State" are highly unrealistic, imagine just one tenth of the power - legally in the hands of commercial interests; the value of knowing everything about your customers; instantly changing your marketing campaign based on real-time feedback from ubiquitous surveillance-input (see people getting Pepsi instead of Coke from the vending machines in "sight" - lower the price; change the music or similar to """correct""" the behavior...?

Be aware. Be careful & Don't just nod...

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Comments

Phil Wolff has an interesting article on a related subject here:
http://dijest.editthispage.com/discuss/msgReader$688?mode=topic&y=2002&m=10&d=11

Posted by: andersja on October 15, 2002 07:46 PM

Strange,

More like something out of a film however i think ide rather go for a wee without the cameras watching me ;)

Posted by: Richard on December 7, 2003 12:16 AM
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