Bald wird es wohl soweit sein. Ungefähr dreißig Jahre später als George Orwell es datiert hatte, wird der Überwachungsstaat immer mehr zur Realität.
Neue, preisgünstige Überwachungskameras und leistungsfähige Software zur Gesichtserkennung ermöglichen eine Überwachung von einzelnen Menschen, die man sich kaum hat träumen lassen.
Gizmodo berichtet von einem Projekt des FBI, das mit einer Milliarde Dollar schon bald genau das erreichen soll (siehe unten).
In US-Großstädten werden immer mehr Kameras installiert. In GB ist die Kameradichte schon extrem hoch. Deutschland wird wohl nicht lange auf sich warten lassen.
Freilich ist das offiziell alles Bekämpfung von Terrorismus und Kriminalität.
Ich finds unbehaglich.
How would you feel if the government could easily track your movements by automatically identifying your face on images captured by the ever-growing network of CCTV of cameras in America? The FBI is will be able to do just that soon, with its one-billion-dollar Next Generation Identification program.
The Bureau argues that the project's goal „is to reduce terrorist and criminal activities by improving and expanding biometric identification and criminal history information services through research, evaluation, and implementation of advanced technology.“ That's all good in my book, although I have my doubts about its actual efficacy for new criminals.
With this system, the FBI and its collaborating administrations would be able to apply facial identification to any image source. Using a much more sophisticated version of the technology found in Facebook or iPhoto, law enforcement agents would be able to quickly go through catalogs of mugshots, images of tattoos or even street photos in search of specific individuals. And of course, that includes an expansive network of CCTV cameras that dot landscapes and street corners across the country.
While America will not become a science fiction Big Brother movie for the time being, you can be sure that this is where we are going. Older video cameras didn't have neither the resolution nor the connectivity to work with a centralized, sophisticated facial recognition system. But this has changed fast: ultra-cheap, inexpensive HD cameras are now being installed everywhere and, very soon, the ability of anyone with access to such system to track everyone on the streets will be an omnipresent reality.
Just think about this: in the New York subway system alone, there are now 3700 security cameras online. Three thousand and seven hundred cameras is a network that you can't escape unless you wear a balaclava. Of those, a remarkable 507 are „providing live feeds to NYPD's Command Center from three key transit hubs: Grand Central Station, Penn Station, and Times Square.“ And that number is growing.
… While it's not as bad as the United Kingdom—where there is an estimated one CCTV camera per 14 citizens—you can't go around any big city without being watched almost in every street and every public transportation line.
Combine this with laser scanners that can detect and any material trace—even the contents of your breakfast—in any public place, airport or traffic light, and you will have a perfect storm.