Tag Archives: facial recgnition

Massachusetts DMV Facial Recognition FAIL-lawsuit to follow

                                                                                                                                            Kaye Beach

July 24, 2011

This gentleman driver got a shock when he was informed that he must cease driving because his license had been revoked.

The Massachusetts DMV (like most state DMV’s) is collecting the facial biometrics of every driver and then using that data to enter each unwitting person into a digital line up that pits their puss against the mugs of fraudsters.

Remember the quaint notion of “presumption of innocence”?

Mr Gass  unfortunately got  fingered  as a bad guy by the less than flawless technology.  Now he is suing for his trouble.

From Boston.com

July 17, 2011

Caught in a dragnet

A fraud prevention system erroneously revoked his license, and now he’s suing for his hardship

read more

EPIC News Your Rep. Could Use SB 483 more than just harmless Data Swapping

frecogSpotlight on Surveillance

September 2007   Proposed ‘Enhanced’ Licenses Are Costly to Security and PrivacyThis month, Spotlight shines on “enhanced” driver’s licenses, run by the Department of Homeland Security in conjunction with Arizona, Vermont, and Washington as part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (“WHTI”). The so-called “enhanced” driver’s licenses are being proposed to fulfill WHTI requirements. An “enhanced” driver’s license or identification card contains more data and different technology than current licenses and ID cards. Citizenship designations and wireless radio frequency identification (“RFID”) technology chips will be added to the cards. Under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, these new cards will be used as border identity documents. Arizona, Washington and Vermont are creating such RFID-enabled cards through pilot programs.



June 2007   “National Network” of Fusion Centers Raises Specter of COINTELPROThis month, Spotlight shines on fusion centers, which have received $380 million in federal grants and millions more from state governments. There are 43 current and planned fusion centers in the U.S., and some states have more than one. A “fusion center,” according to the Department of Justice, is a “mechanism to exchange information and intelligence, maximize resources, streamline operations, and improve the ability to fight crime and terrorism by analyzing data from a variety of sources,” which includes private sector firms and anonymous tipsters. When local and state fusion centers were first created, they were purely oriented toward counterterrorism, but, over time and with the escalating involvement of federal officials, fusion centers “have increasingly gravitated toward an all-crimes and even broader all-hazards approach.”



March 2007   Federal REAL ID Proposal Threatens Privacy and SecurityMore than two years after Congress rushed through passage of the REAL ID Act, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) announced on March 1 proposed regulations that would turn the state driver’s license into a national identity card. The estimated cost of the plan could be as high as $23.1 billion, according to the federal government. The Department of Homeland Security regulations for Real ID would  (1) impose more difficult standards for acceptable identification documents that could limit the ability of individuals to get a state drivers license; (2) compel data verification procedures that the federal government itself is not capable of following; (3) mandate minimum data elements required on the face of and in the machine readable zone of the card; (4) require changes to the design of licenses and identification cards (4) expand schedules and procedures for retention and distribution of identification documents and other personal data; and (5) dictate security standards for the card, state motor vehicle facilities, and the personal data and documents collected in state motor vehicle databases.

February 2007   Proposed Federal Budget Funds Questionable Surveillance ProgramsPresident Bush’s $2.9 trillion budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2008 is a 4.2 percent increase over last year’s budget. Agencies, other than the departments of State, Defense and Homeland Security, will receive increases of about 1 percent, less than the rate of inflation. Assistance to state and local law enforcement for community policing and local prosecutions has been cut by 70 percent. The proposed budget includes funding increases for several questionable surveillance programs, among them: Secure Flight, Automated Targeting System, and Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative PASS Card, Transportation Worker Identification Credential, Employee Eligibility Verification program, and the national DNA database.




August 2006   Homeland Security PASS Card: Leave Home Without ItThe Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 mandated that, by January 2008, the departments of Homeland Security and State develop and implement a plan to require U.S. citizens and foreign nationals to present a passport or other documents to prove identity and citizenship when entering the United States from certain countries in North, Central or South America. This program is called the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, and its impact is the greatest upon U.S. citizens who routinely cross the border. Accepted documents for U.S. citizens will be either a valid U.S. passport or the proposed People Access Security Service (PASS) card, which, if adopted as proposed, would include a long-range wireless technology that would create an increased security risk.


June 2006   Treasury’s International Finance Tracking Program of Questionable LegalityOn June 23, 2006, news articles by the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Wall Street Journal described a massive Treasury Department program to secretly review international financial transactions, including those of American citizens and corporations. The Treasury Department has requested $58.6 billion for Fiscal Year 2007. Its Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which includes the international finance tracking program, would receive $90 million.

May 2006   Veterans Affairs’ Security Failures Put Data of Military Personnel at RiskVeterans Affairs has been in the news recently because of a huge information security breach that resulted in the theft of unencrypted data affecting 26.5 million people. The agency has estimated that it will cost between $100 million to $500 million to prevent and cover possible losses from the data theft. Though the theft occurred on May 3, 2006, the agency waited until May 22 to inform those who were affected. The delay was just one of many failures by Veterans Affairs in this incident. For Fiscal Year 2007, Veterans Affairs has requested $80.6 billion, $1.3 billion of which is for the agency’s information technology systems.


March 2006   IRS’s Inadequate Security Leaves Taxpayer Data Largely UnprotectedThis month, Spotlight surveys the Internal Revenue Service amidst recent questions concerning its information-sharing regulations and security systems. Recently, IRS has come under fire for issues related to individual privacy. Government reports have found that the agency has poor physical and electronic security, and it has had considerable trouble with its contractors improperly accessing and collecting sensitive taxpayer information.

February 2006   Anti-terrorism Funds Wrongly Spent on Highway Safety ProgramsThis month, we Spotlight the Highway Watch program, a cooperative agreement between the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the American Trucking Association (ATA). About $40 million in federal funds have been spent on the program, and $4.8 million in funds have been requested for Fiscal Year 2007. The program aims to provide anti-terrorism training to “truck and bus drivers, school bus drivers, highway maintenance crews, bridge and tunnel toll collectors and others” so that they will be able to “recognize and report suspicious activity.” However, the Highway Watch program began as, and continues to be, a safety awareness program. As such, it should not receive anti-terrorism grants from Homeland Security.


December 2005   D.C.’s Camera System Should Focus on Emergencies, Not Daily LifeTens of millions in federal homeland security funds have been allotted to surveillance systems such as the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department’s Closed Circuit Television System (CCTV). The D.C. cameras are turned on only during major events and in emergency situations, but after the July bombings in London, D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams called for more federal funds to expand the use of the camera surveillance system. Mayor Williams “also proposed adding cameras to neighborhoods, parks, recreation centers and commercial areas throughout the city.” Camera surveillance networks are proliferating in cities across the country, but studies show that such systems have little effect on crime. It is more effective to place more officers on the streets than have them watching people on monitors. The systems also raise privacy issues. Without tight legal controls on the use of camera surveillance systems, there are significant risks of misuse or abuse.

November 2005   Facial Recognition Systems Have an Ugly Effect on Personal PrivacyIn Fiscal Year 2006, the federal government plans to add facial recognition checks to all visa applications, which already include fingerprint biometrics. This is despite the Government Accountability Office’s estimate that incorporating biometric systems into visas would cost from $1.3 billion to $2.9 billion for startup, and $700 million to $1.5 billion for annual operating costs. New U.S. passports and national identification cards created under the REAL ID Act of 2005 will both include digital photographs that can be linked to facial recognition systems. However, several tests, including those conducted by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Defense, show that facial recognition systems can be easily befuddled by uncooperative subjects and changes in the environment, such as positioning or lighting. Such facial recognition systems create significant privacy risks because the technique is surreptitious, the prospects for extensive profiling are clear, and there are no laws that currently regulate these systems to prevent abuse.

October 2005   Registered Traveler Card: A Privatized Passenger IDThe government has spent about $20 million on a test version of the Transportation Security Administration’s Registered Traveler program. The pilot program began a year ago and recently ended at five airports; however, a private business is continuing the program at Orlando International Airport and there are plans to expand the air traveler prescreening program to many airports across the nation. No money has been allotted toward the program in the Fiscal Year 2006 budget; however, TSA continues to pay $30 to $50 apiece for background checks on applicants and members of the private program, named “Clear” and operated by Verified Identity Pass Inc.


August 2005   Unmanned Planes Offer New Opportunities for Clandestine Government TrackingUnmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also called drones, “are defined as a powered aerial vehicle that does not carry a human operator, uses aerodynamic forces to provide lift, can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely, can be expendable or recoverable, and can carry lethal or nonlethal payloads.” The different types of UAVs can range in cost from $350,000 to $4.5 million each. For Fiscal Year 2006, the Department of Homeland Security is budgeting $58 million for operation and maintenance of deep water assets, including funds for UAVs. The Homeland Security Appropriations Act provided $10 million for the use of UAVs in border security for Fiscal Year 2005.


June 2005   Transportation Agency’s Plan to X-Ray Travelers Should Be Stripped of FundingAirport security has undergone significant changes since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Recently, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced a proposal to purchase and deploy “backscatter” X-ray machines to search air travelers at select airports. TSA said it believes that use of the machines is less invasive than pat-down searches. However, these machines, which show detailed images of a person’s naked body, are equivalent to a “virtual strip search” for all air travelers. This proposal, along with the agency’s controversial plan to profile air travelers, shows extraordinary disregard for the privacy rights of air travelers. The Department of Homeland Security is requesting $72 million to invest in detection systems, which includes funding for the backscatter machines, which cost between $100,000 and $200,000 each.

May 2005   More Cities Deploy Camera Surveillance Systems with Federal Grant MoneyThe Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has requested more than $2 billion to finance grants to state and local governments for homeland security needs. Some of this money is being used by state and local governments to create networks of surveillance cameras to watch over the public in the streets, shopping centers, at airports and more. However, studies have found that such surveillance systems have little effect on crime, and that it is more effective to place more officers on the streets and improve lighting in high-crime areas. There are significant concerns about citizens’ privacy rights and misuse or abuse of the system.

April 2005   Homeland Security ID Card Is Not So SecureThe Department of Homeland Security Access Card (DAC) has vulnerabilities associated with its use of radio frequency identification (RFID) and Bluetooth technologies, biometric identifiers and PIN backup system. But there are also risks that come from the DAC’s “mission creep”; the Department also wants the card to be used as a payment device for everyday items. The Department requests $6 million for the DAC program in FY 2006.Exchange with CNET News.com

Related News

  • News articles questioning cost and effectiveness of DHS programs:
    [part 1] [part 2]


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