Big Brother’s Minority Report

an article in Wired News reports that facial surveillance plans have been scrapped for the upcoming super bowl. last year some firms made headlines by scanning everyone’s faces to catch criminals. they found 19 people with criminal records out of the 100,000 that were there–enough to justify invading everyone’s privacy?

regardless, the point made by one company head was the right one: “”We’re stepping back from surveillance and concentrating more on controlling access.” this is much like the comments made by the hp engineers who came and talked at stanford, saying, “we envision a ‘personal ACCESS device’, not a personal SURVEILLANCE device.” you have to let people tell you who they are, just like they could in pre-technology days or in the movie “Catch Me if You Can”. if individuals want special permissions based on who they are, then certainly make them prove it. but don’t try to take away the right of a person to sit quietly and mind his own business.

dilbert weighs in on biometrics today.