molly hankwitz on 20 Oct 2000 14:05:36 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] press release: protest against face recognition software

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>Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2000 21:24:27 -0500
>From: Surveillance Camera Players <>
>Subject: press release: protest against face recognition software
>[please forward to those who would be interested.]
>                   Protest Against Face Recognition Software
>For immediate release
>5 October 2000
>     At 1 p.m. on Sunday, 15 October 2000, the Surveillance Camera Players
>will protest against the manufacture and distribution of face recognition
>software by Visionics, a company that has an office in New Jersey. The
>protest -- which will take the form of a series of performances by the SCP
>-- will take
>place across from Visionics' office at 1 Exchange Place, Jersey City. The
>and the general public are invited to attend.
>     Face recognition software (FRS) is the generic name for computer software
>programs that match images captured by surveillance cameras with images
>stored in computerized databases.  Though not in use in the United States at
>this time, FRS manufactured by Visionics is currently being used in England, a
>country in which the mania for closed-circuit television systems has reached
>truly sociopathic levels. But England is behind the times: only now is the
>country considering an American-style Bill of Rights! FRS poses a direct
>to the liberties and rights guaranteed by the First and Fourth Amendments, and
>we don't want it being used here in the U.S.A.
>     The problem with FRS is that its effectiveness completely depends on the
>existence and accessibility of databases of facial images. According to
>Visionics' own Web site, the world's databases already contain 1.1 billion
>facial images. But FRS won't be effective until each and every person's
>face is
>scanned and uploaded.  Otherwise people -- both preferred customers and
>guests -- could walk right by software-enhanced surveillance cameras without
>their identity being known.
>     Though it might be desirable for certain elements in business and law
>enforcement, a complete database of the faces of every single human being
>on the
>planet is inseparable from a totalitarian nightmare. Certainly it will take
>totalitarian methods to induce everyone on Earth to let their faces be scanned
>and uploaded. And so the SCP says, STOP FRS NOW.
>     For more information, contact the SCP:
>     Phone (212) 561-0106
>     E-mail
>     Web site <>

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