A Conversation for CCTV and Privacy in the UK

Airports in the US

Post 1

SA Mathieson

Since I first wrote this, the terrorist attacks of 11 September have caused a huge amount of interest in the Visionics FaceIt system, especially in the US. It's now being considered for use at all airports. There's a Guardian news story at [url removed by moderator](cut and paste the address from 'www' to 'html', including the commas).

It wouldn't have stopped the World Trade Centre and Pentagon attacks, however, as the terrorists in question were not known.

Before the attack, Visionics had also announced it was working with police forces in Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and the West Midlands to catch thieves who distract their victims before robbing them. If this trial goes well, the system could be used nationally.

SA Mathieson

Airports in the US

Post 2


Hello SA smiley - smiley

What's your opinion on this? Do you think that the use of such technology is of use in *any* situation? Or is its use in any case an intrusion on our liberties?

Airports in the US

Post 3

SA Mathieson

Dear Dr Gonzo,

I'm not a privacy fundamentalist (although I know a few). My feeling is that I want privacy-invading technology use to be open and defensible. In this case, the Visionics system would have been of very little use against the September 11 attacks, as the attackers were not known, and Visionics simply looks for matches against a portfolio of known suspects.

It makes sense to me that aircraft and airport security in the US and elsewhere is tightened, such as through document ID checks - after all, this is standard on international flights. But I don't understand the value of installing Visionics in this case.

SA Mathieson

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