Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Camel's Nose

The Camel's Nose is in the tent, you know, the first "innocent" foray into formerly forbiddion territory regarding any governmental or corporate policy that causes alarms bells to go off, particularly in terms of privacy, is moving into the marketplace as seen by Alternet's incendiary article titled.

Biometrics at Pizza Hut and KFC? How Face Recognition and Digital Fingerprinting Are Creeping Into the U.S. Workplace

When looking at the larger picture regarding biometrics, no doubt this techology can be easily abused just as tech was abused by the banks in turning dollars into bits able to be packaged into complex toxic assets that bankrupted the world.

All summer, Lathem Corp. product marketing manager Tony Burks has been on tour, pitching the biometric company's line of face-scanning time clocks at trade shows around the country. In his presentations Burks moves toward the small device and then backs away, showing how FaceIN uses some of the latest advances in face recognition technology to assess his identity from up to three feet away.  

FaceIN uses two cameras to map a worker's face, converting the width of their cheekbones, depth of their eye sockets, nose shape, and other unique facial features into an ID code. Every day after that, workers punch in by standing in front of a machine that recognizes them after a two-second face scan. Unlike the old-fashioned electronic password, FaceIN promises to tightly monitor when workers come and go, permanently banishing "buddy punching" from the workplace -- the time-honored practice of covering for a co-worker who may be running a few minutes late.

Identical twins can't con it, because, as Burks tells AlterNet over the phone, the two cameras that survey the face capture even slight variations in cheek plumpness and eyelid droop. As workers age, their FaceIN avatar ages with them. Changes to the face brought on by weight gain and weight loss are also clocked. "Let's say you gained 15 pounds next month," Burks says, "It would still recognize you." 

Winston Smith would recognize the implications of this tech in a heartbeat, do you?

Behind Winston's back the voice from the telescreen was still babbling away about pig-iron and the overfulfilment of the Ninth Three-Year Plan. The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized. 

As often stated in BRT, technology has no morality, it all depends on how it's used determines the impact it will have on society.
Click on Lanthem's FaceIN's image to see this tech in action, something somewhat disconcerting to watch if you ask me.

Addendum: The Fed's getting into the act as well. Not Biometrics but rather surveillance of online conversations on social networking sites like Facebook and Google+.

"How often do you mention the word 'Fed' online? There is about to be a new breed of Big Brother "watchers" and electronic surveillance on billions of online conversations before eavesdropping on the emotion behind how the 'Fed' was used. The monitoring will include identifying and reaching out to "key bloggers" and "influencers."

ZeroHedge reported the Federal Reserve Bank will soon monitor billions of conversations on social networking sites to know who mentions "Fed" as well as the sentiment in which it was used. 

Enemy of the State anyone? and yes, I'll bet BRT could be monitored if the proposal goes through since "The Fed" has been mentioned many times in posts this blog has produced discussing the actions of a private organization who controls the monies of our once great nation.
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