A First! Florida Intelligence Officer Admits Investigating People in Public using Facial Recognition

Kaye Beach

September 17, 2012

This is the first public admission, to my knowledge, by law enforcement that confirms that they are doing exactly what myself and others have been warning about-using facial recognition on people in public.

Just a few days ago I updated readers on Oklahoma’s steady progress toward compliance with the federal Real ID Act in spite of the fact that implementation of that act is prohibited by law in our state.

The most egregious part of the Real ID Act is the capture and retention of our facial biometrics.   As I explained;

. . .facial biometrics is the governments biometric of choice.  Why?  It is not the most accurate biometric for identification purposes but it does allow us to be identified in public without our knowledge or consent. link

An intelligence officer from the St. Petersburg Police Dept. just let the cat completely put of the bag!

Here is a snippet of an explosive article just reported by the ACLU :

Police in Tampa used smartphones and tablets to spy on protesters at the Republican National Convention, according to a report today from the National Journal.

Smartphones have proven to be an excellent tool for empowering individuals faced with sometimes unprofessional or abusive law enforcement officers, thanks to their built-in cameras and the constitutional right to record the police. But they also allow the police, according to the article, to blend in and transmit live video of protesters:

“The specialized applications gave law enforcement an advantage, allowing police officers to use everyday devices in a strategic and tactical way,” said Sgt. Dale Moushon, with the Intelligence Unit of the St. Petersburg Police Department….

While undercover police in most protests are often easily identified by their earpieces or microphones in their sleeves, Moushon told National Journal that using cell phones allowed police to remain completely undetected. “Everyone has a phone, so officers blend in easier,” he said….

He also pointed to an instance in which an officer was preparing to take a picture of a suspicious person so staff could use facial-recognition software to identify the person. Instead, the person happened to pull out a document that included his identifying information that was then captured in real-time by the officer’s live video feed. “That saved us a lot of time,” Moushon said.

We shouldn’t just accept that undercover police will infiltrate peaceful protesters exercising their First Amendment rights, photograph them, and use face recognition or other techniques to identity them. We must not come to accept the existence of a secret police in our society.

. . . Mike German, who infiltrated numerous criminal groups as an undercover FBI operative, notes that there should be reasonable suspicion—an articulable basis in fact—that a crime has or will be committed before the police begin an investigation

Read More

This is an outrage!  Lawful dissent is supposed to be afforded the highest degree of First Amendment protection.  If you value  your right to chastise your wayward government without being investigated, harassed and intimidated-you should be very concerned about this development.

This is not just a matter of the local police.  Remember, Florida received 50 million dollars from the federal government to set up this system. They are connected with a variety of other intelligence centers including the Florida Fusion Center directly linking with federal agencies.

CTIC maintains an operational relationship with other state law enforcement agencies, as well as the FBI and DHS. The role of CTIC continues to evolve as their participation in the Florida Fusion Center grows. Recently, CTIC began providing information for Department of Homeland Security Information Reports that are disseminated not only to other law enforcement elements, but to members of the United States Intelligence Community as well. Link

The absolute necessity of my lawsuit could not be any more apparent than it is right now.  If you are having difficulty in understanding the implications of this admission I suggest you simply mentally replace the RNC protestor with any unpopular group member you like; perhaps yourself.

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