nettime's_roving_reporter on Mon, 16 Jul 2001 22:32:00 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> mock restinance against video surveillance

     [via Felix Stalder <>]

Floridians Mock Cop Cams
Associated Press

7:09 a.m. July 16, 2001 PDT

TAMPA, Florida -- Wearing masks and making obscene gestures at police
cameras, about 100 people protested a new security system that scans faces
in the city's crime-ridden nightlife district to search for wanted persons.

"Being watched on a public street is just plain wrong," said May Becker,
wearing a bar code sticker on her forehead.

Becker joined demonstrators in the Ybor City district Saturday night,
wearing a sign reading: "We're under house arrest in the land of the free."

One protester walked by a camera, gestured obscenely and shouted, "Digitize

Others wore gas masks, Groucho Marx glasses and other items to protest the
FaceIt scanning system police are using in a neighborhood that attracts
75,000 to 150,000 people on weekend nights.

The video cameras snap pictures of faces in the crowd and compare them to a
database of 30,000 people that includes runaway teens and wanted criminals.
It works by analyzing 80 facial points between the nose, cheekbones and

Tampa is the only American city where police use the face-recognition
technology for routine surveillance, but Virginia Beach, Virginia, is
seeking a $150,000 state grant for a similar system.

So far, police say the system has not led to any arrests although it has
been used in Ybor the past two weekends.

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