New York Using Facial Recognition to ID Drivers and Passengers at Toll Booths

The state of New York is using facial recognition cameras to identify drivers and passengers at toll booths.
A recent article in the New York Post revealed that toll booths use facial recognition to identify everyone.

“We are now moving to facial-recognition technology, which takes it to a whole new level, where it can see the face of the person in the car and run that technology against databases,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.  (Click here & here to learn more about the proliferation of facial recognition technology.)

Police are also testing facial recognition cameras that can identify people based on the shape of their ears.

“Because many times a person will turn their head when they see a security camera, so they are now experimenting with technology that just identifies a person by their ear, believe it or not,” Cuomo said.

Last year Vocativ revealed that NYC is using toll booth gantries to create a ring of spying cameras.

“The Authority is interested in implementing a Facial Detection System, in a free-flow highway environment, where vehicle movement is unimpeded at highway speeds as well as bumper-to-bumper traffic, and license plate images are taken and matched to occupants of the vehicles (via license plate number) with Facial Detection and Recognition methods from a gantry-based or road-side monitoring location.”

Police facial recognition to identify drivers within seconds

According to the NY Post, toll booth gantries can identify vehicles within seconds.

“License plates scanned at the toll plazas, at least, are already being checked for warrants, suspected felons, parole violators, terrorist suspects and  the intel is passed within five seconds on to cop cars stationed at the crossings.”

How long before NYC uses facial recognition cameras to identify drivers and passengers within seconds?

Currently, there are at least thirty-one states that allow police to use facial recognition to identify people from drivers licenses and state IDs. Roughly one in every two American adults—117 million people—are in the facial recognition networks used by law enforcement, according to a 2016 report.

DHS and law enforcement have created an Orwellian nightmare in NYC. Imagine a future where police install facial recognition cameras at two thousand bridges and tunnels throughout NYC.

Now imagine that happening in your city or town.

Facial recognition cameras and license plate readers are being used to create secret hotlists and watchlists that track our every movement.

It is time for Americans to stop letting DHS and law enforcement use 9/11 as an excuse to destroy everyone’s privacy.

Federal License Plate Tracking and Facial Recognition

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the federal government, via the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) tracks the location of millions of vehicles. They’ve engaged in this for nearly a decade, all without a warrant, or even public notice of the policy.

State and local law enforcement agencies operate most of these tracking systems, often paid for by federal grant money. The DEA then taps into the local database to track the whereabouts of millions of people – for the simple act of driving – without having to operate a huge network itself. The ACLU estimates that less than 0.2 percent of plate scans are linked to criminal activity or vehicle registration issues.

Law enforcement generally configures ALPRs to store the photograph, the license plate number, and the date, time, and location of vehicles. But according to newly disclosed records obtained by the ACLU via a Freedom of Information Act request, the DEA also captures photographs of drivers and their passengers.

According to the ACLU:

“One internal 2009 DEA communication stated clearly that the license plate program can provide “the requester” with images that “may include vehicle license plate numbers (front and/or rear), photos of visible vehicle occupants [redacted] and a front and rear overall view of the vehicle.” Clearly showing that occupant photos are not an occasional, accidental byproduct of the technology, but one that is intentionally being cultivated, a 2011 email states that the DEA’s system has the ability to store “up to 10 photos per vehicle transaction including 4 occupant photos.”

With the FBI rolling out facial a nationwide recognition program, and the federal government building biometric databases, the fact that the feds can potentially access stored photographs of drivers and passengers, along with detailed location data, magnifies the privacy concerns surrounding ALPRs.

This article by JPrivate was originally published on his blog MassPrivatel.

 

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