Protest Against Face Recognition Software

For immediate release to the press

5 October 2000

At 1 p.m. on Sunday, 15 October 2000, the Surveillance Camera Players (SCP) will protest against the manufacture and distribution of face recognition software by Visionics, a company that has an office in New Jersey. The protest -- which will take the form of a series of performances by the SCP -- will take place across from Visionics' office at 1 Exchange Place, Jersey City. The press and the general public are invited to attend.

Face recognition software (FRS) is the generic name for computer software programs that match images captured by surveillance cameras with images already stored in computerized databases. Though not in widespread use in the United States at this time, FRS manufactured by Visionics is currently being used in England, a country in which the mania for closed-circuit television systems has reached truly sociopathic levels. But England is behind the times: only now is the country considering an American-style Bill of Rights! FRS poses a direct threat to the liberties and rights guaranteed by the First and Fourth Amendments, and we don't want it being used here in the U.S.A.

The problem with FRS is that its effectiveness completely depends on the existence and accessibility of databases of facial images. According to Visionics' own Web site, the world's databases already contain 1.1 billion facial images. But FRS won't be effective until each and every person's face is scanned and uploaded. Otherwise people -- both preferred customers and unwanted guests -- could walk right by software-enhanced surveillance cameras without their identity being known.

Though it might be desirable for certain elements in business and law enforcement, a complete database of the faces of every single human being on the planet is inseparable from a totalitarian nightmare. Certainly it will take totalitarian methods to induce everyone on Earth to let their faces be scanned and uploaded. And so the SCP says, STOP FRS NOW.

Contact the Surveillance Camera Players

By e-mail

By snail mail: SCP c/o NOT BORED! POB 1115, Stuyvesant Station, New York City 10009-9998

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