Today on Meet Your Neighbor! we focus on Visionics, Inc., which is located at 1 Exchange Place, Jersey City. Because it develops and sells a "controversial" product -- face recognition software (FRS), which matches captured images with images already stored in a database -- Visionics likes to keep a very low profile. Notice that nothing on the building identifies it as the proud headquarters of the world's leading manufacturer of FRS. But Visionics doesn't want you -- one of the hundreds of people who walk by their building almost every day of the week -- to keep a low profile.
The success of FRS depends on the size, comprehensiveness and accessibility of the databases to which the cameras are attached. But no one wants an image of his or her face to become part of a permanent and universally accessible database, and so Visionics and its clients have been forced to acquire facial images in surreptitious ways. They have purchased images from various Departments of Motor Vehicles and have even invented an "intelligent agent" that watches TV and captures the faces and names of the people who appear on it.
This is the only reason why the doorway to 1 Exchange Place is outfitted with very sophisticated surveillance cameras. No doubt these semi-secret cameras -- none of which is accompanied by a sign that informs the public of their existence -- are connected to computers equipped with FRS, and are used to add to Visionics' database. Did the company get your informed consent? No? Then your constitutionally protected right to privacy has been violated.
If you'd like to learn more about FRS, please come to a performance outside of Visionics' offices this Sunday, 15 October 2000, at 1 pm (sharp).
Contact the Surveillance Camera Players
By e-mail Info@notbored.org
By snail mail: SCP c/o NOT BORED! POB 1115, Stuyvesant Station, New York City 10009-9998