Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Big Brother Is Watching You Or “Your Papers Please”.

I remember when I was little; we used to criticize communist Russia for requiring travel documents if you had to leave your community. Back then we could not even in our wildest dreams imagine the surveillance that is now in use here in the U.S. and around the world.
If Tolls Become Reality, The ACLU Wants Privacy
By Christine Stuart
July 23, 2018

HARTFORD, CT — The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut wants to make sure that data gathered by any future electronic tolling system on state highways isn’t sold or used by the government to track down undocumented immigrants.
ACLU Executive Director David McGuire asked for a meeting with state Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker to talk about potential “serious privacy issues” that come along with electronic tolls. The meeting was granted and will occur next month.

“Should an electronic tolling system be developed in our state, it will most likely use automatic license plate readers (ALPR’s), which are cameras that can scan and record thousands of license plates per minute. When an ALPR system captures an image of a license plate, it also tags each file with a time, date, and GPS location of the photograph,” McGuire wrote last week in a letter to Redeker.

That means the government can track where someone has gone, how fast they are going, where they are going, and who visits certain locations, raising serious First and Fourth Amendment concerns, according to McGuire.
McGuire said there’s a concern that if the information is stored then someone could reconstruct the movements of a driver over weeks, months, or years. He said it could open the door to retroactive government surveillance of “innocent people without warrant, without probable case, and without any form of judicial oversight.”
I don’t know if you have noticed those cameras on police cars, they are there to read your license plates as they drive past a car and they are being used by police everywhere. You stop by your favorite bar on the way home from work and you notice a police car drive through the parking lot… well the police just scanned every license plate in the parking lot. You go to a Women’s March on Washington Rally and you see a police car drive through the parking lot… well the police just scanned every license plate of everyone at the rally.

Have you noticed on Facebook when you post a picture that Facebook identified everyone in the picture? When you walk in to a sports event and walk past a security camera well the police could have just scanned you with a face recognition program.

You go to a rally against ICE… are you being scanned by a face recognition program by ICE?
Earlier this year, The Verge reported that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement had contracted with Vigilant Solutions to provide license plate reader information. It’s the same company the Connecticut Capitol Chiefs of Police Association contracted with to provide the region’s license plate reader database.
Or you go to an anti-Trump rally are you being scanned?
Face Scanning Technology Threatens Privacy
Hartford Courant
By Clare Garvie
July 22, 2018

When deployed as a tool to unlock your phone, facial recognition may be a convenience. When used by a company to tag you in photos, the technology may raise questions of privacy, consent and data security. But when deployed as a surveillance tool, facial recognition upends some of our most basic assumptions about how the police interact with the public.

"If we move too fast with facial recognition, we may find that people's fundamental rights are being broken," Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote in a blog post last week, calling for transparency, regulation and corporate responsibility with this technology.

He might actually be understating the issue.

Imagine attending a public gathering — a political rally, an immigration-policy protestor an anti-abortion march — and police officers walk through the crowds demanding each attendee show identification. You would be justified both in your outrage at this intrusion and in refusing to comply. In this country, a police officer must suspect you of committing a crime before stopping you on the street and requiring an answer to the question: "Who are you?"
In China, face-scanning surveillance is deployed by the government to do exactly this. Cameras scan and check the faces of passersby against a national database of names, ages and ethnicities. The system can inform authorities about everywhere you have been over the past few days, and everyone you may have met.
Also consider...
And what happens if a system like this gets it wrong? A mistake by a video-based surveillance system may mean an innocent person is followed, investigated, and maybe even arrested and charged for a crime he or she didn't commit. A mistake by a face-scanning surveillance system on a body camera could be lethal. An officer, alerted to a potential threat to public safety or to himself, must, in an instant, decide whether to draw his weapon. A false alert places an innocent person in those cross hairs.

Facial-recognition technology advances by the day, but problems with accuracy and misidentifications persist, especially when the systems must contend with poor-quality images — such as from surveillance cameras.
Right now there are no limits on the use of electronic data identification apps by law enforcement, there are no limits on businesses and individual use of electronic data identification apps. There are no limits on the length of time that they can keep the data and there are no laws preventing combining the databases… think about a mega database of all you toll data, facial recognition database, and license database to track you.


Yes, especially with the Trump administration.

What I would like to see are laws limiting the time the data could be kept, prohibiting the combining of databases, and the requirement that the police obtain warrants to search the databases. I would like to businesses required to post notices if they use identity programs to track customers.

What does this has to do with trans?

Way back in the very early 2000’s a Fantasia Fair attendee did want her picture taken because of face recognition apps and I thought that she was paranoid now I don’t think that, I think she might have been working on a face recognition program back then.

How would trans people feel if say a police car drove through the parking lot at a hotel holding a trans conference? If you were going out for a night on the town crossdressed and you go to a Drag show and the police scan the license plates in the parking lot; would you go there?


  1. Too late! The Illinois State Supreme Court has already ruled that the I-Pass (the RF-ID transponders for automated toll payment on the Illinois Tollways) records are subpoena-able and admissible in Divorce Court actions.

  2. They are admittedly very convenient in our busy lives. For commuting and the like, who cares?

    However, any person not wanting their movement at any particular time to be tracked, could simply put their RFID transponder in a faraday bag, and simply pay the toll "manually." End of problem.


  3. Post continued...sorry!

    However, license plate scanners and the records they generate could be a different thing. Those need rules/controls...


  4. Good Idea Mandy....except... the tolls in Illinois are twice as high when you pay by cash instead of I-Pass!