Web Bytes: Surveillance

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Face recognition software and Orwell’s ‘1984’ – thanks to The Guardian and the BBC.

Facial recognition cameras in use

Facial recognition tech is arsenic in the water of democracy, says Liberty

Martha Spurrier, a human rights lawyer, said the technology had such fundamental problems that, despite police enthusiasm for the equipment, its use on the streets should not be permitted.

“It doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to see how something like facial recognition eats into the fabric of society and distorts relationships that are really human and really essential to a thriving democracy.

“Little by little, across the country, in tiny but very significant ways, people will stop doing things. From a person saying I’m not going to go to that protest, I’m not going to pray at that mosque, or hang out with that person, or walk down that street,” says Spurrier.

Ian Sample on 7 June 2019 in The Guardian

Orwell composite

George Orwell’s 1984: Why it still matters

From reality TV show Big Brother to warnings about surveillance, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four has had a lasting impact on modern society. With the very idea of truth under attack, the Guardian’s Dorian Lynskey, author of ‘The Ministry of Truth’, explains why, 70 years after publication, the dystopian classic might matter more than ever.

Surveillance is now at a level which was unimaginable in Orwell’s time. And what’s happened recently, people are going to it [the book] for what it says about truth. And flagrant lies. And the nature of exerting power by distorting reality.

Video produced by James Wignall, published on 7 June 2019 by BBC

San Francisco is first US city to ban police use of facial recognition tech

San Francisco supervisors have voted to make the city the first in the United States to ban police and other government agencies from using facial recognition technology.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who championed the legislation, said: “This is really about saying: ‘We can have security without being a security state. We can have good policing without being a police state.’ And part of that is building trust with the community based on good community information, not on Big Brother technology.”

Kari Paul and agencies, 15 May 2019, in The Guardian
For further reading: LA TimesSF Chronicle

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