DHS Will Film Hockey Fans for Facial Recognition Test

September 13th, 2013

For a few years now, reports have begun to emerge exposing the fact that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security are working on creating a facial recognition grid, combining public spy cameras and facial recognition software to track the movements of innocent Americans. Funding grants for face-scanning cameras and other equipment have been issued to municipalities and states in exchange for photos from driver’s license and arrest records.

Now, the implementation of these dystopian-sounding spy tools has accelerated. The Tri-City Herald is reporting that the Department of Homeland Security is set to test facial recognition cameras on the crowd at the upcoming September 21st season-opening game of the Tri-City Americans, a Western Hockey League team from southern Washington that plays home games at the Toyota Center. What was once considered by many to be an out-there conspiracy theory has now become an officially-acknowledged policy.

Too Much Information

Civil liberties advocates fear that facial recognition software, combined with a grid of spy cameras on street corners and in public places, could be used to monitor the movements of Americans who are not suspected of a crime. Furthermore, DHS and FBI officials have been collecting photos from arrest and driver’s license records to populate a list of faces for facial recognition analysis. Since the program is aimed at catching terrorists, it makes little sense for drug offenders or drivers to be included in the list. Constitutionally speaking, no one should be investigated for a crime absent probable cause or a warrant.

Furthermore, huge volumes of randomly-collected data have proven ineffective in the pursuit of terror suspects. Despite the fact that the National Security Agency had access to virtually all communications worldwide, the Boston Marathon bombers, who were incidentally both on watch lists, carried out their despicable plan without interference by law enforcement. Special cameras proved unnecessary in that case, as nearly everyone at the event took pictures and video with smart phones anyway.

The above-linked article states, “Eventually, state-of-the-art facial recognition technologies could be used to identify terrorists and criminals in public areas, according to the national lab in Richland. The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate works to make technology available to agencies ranging from local police offices to the U.S. Border Patrol, Transportation Security Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”

Un-American Policies to Be Tested at Tri-City Americans Game

On September 21st, bureaucrats will video tape fans for facial recognition tests at the Toyota Center during the Tri-City Americans’ season-opening game. Participation in this case is voluntary, as there will be specific sections of the stadium in which the videotaping will be taking place. However, once these cameras are on every street corner, participation will be anything but voluntary.

Participants will wear ankle bracelets that indicate when they are in range of the special cameras, which will be aimed at the Toyota Center’s entrance, a concession stand, and a walkway by a section of seats. Officials claim that fans will have the option of avoiding the cameras.

It’s ironic that such bizarre, dystopian police state policies are going to be rolled out at a game featuring a team called the Americans, considering the fact that America was founded on the fundamental liberties found in the Bill of Rights, which facial recognition cameras themselves will likely be used to violate. Civil liberties advocates should keep a watchful and suspicious eye on this technology, as it may soon be implemented on a wide scale.

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About the Author: Barry Donegan

is a singer for the experimental mathcore band , a writer, a self-described "veteran lifer in the counterculture", a political activist/consultant, and a believer in the non-aggression principle.