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NY Gov. Wants to Implement Enhanced Facial Recognition System Across State

NY Gov. Wants to Implement Enhanced Facial Recognition System Across State

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to improve the state’s security system by introducing facial-recognition cameras at bridges, airports, tunnel toll plazas, and other public areas. 

In New York, cameras are already being used to issue traffic violations by taking photos of licenses of driver’s who run red lights or make illegal turns. 

But the gov. wants to ramp up the use of facial-recognition software, starting with RFK/Triborough Bridge, Queens Midtown Tunnel, and Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, which are the first areas to test the new advanced software. 

“When it reads that license plate, it reads it for scofflaws . . . [but] the toll is almost the least significant contribution that this electronic equipment can actually perform,” said Cuomo, as reported by the NY Post. “We are now moving to facial-recognition technology, which takes it to a whole new level, where it can see the face of the person in the car and run that technology against databases.”

This advanced facial-recognition software can even identify individuals with only a portion of their face. 

“Because many times a person will turn their head when they see a security camera, so they are now experimenting with technology that just identifies a person by their ear, believe it or not,” said Cuomo. 

The system is expected to expand to the state’s popular airports, along with at least two more bridges in New York City. 

“The use of this facial recognition technology has allowed law enforcement to crack down on fraud, identity theft, and other offenses – taking criminals and dangerous drivers off our streets and increasing the safety of New York’s roadways,” said Cuomo. “We will continue to do everything we can to hold fraudsters accountable and protect the safety and security of all New Yorkers.”

Although Cuomo argues that the system will make New York safer, privacy advocates see these systems are an outrageous invasion of privacy. 

China uses a similar facial-recognition, but much more expansive security system to spy on its public. There are over 200 million security cameras installed in the country. 

Chinese officials located and apprehended BBC reporter John Sudworth in just seven minutes as a stunt to show how powerful the Chinese surveillance system is. 

Will New Yorkers now be subjected to being watched by Big Brother all over the place?

But it isn’t only privacy advocates expressing concern about New York’s security system.  Some groups and unions are claiming that these systems are unreliable and will ultimately lead to incorrect violations and arrests.  

“Facial-recognition software is notoriously inaccurate when it comes to identifying people of color, women and children, leading to the possibility of people being mistakenly arrested or erroneously monitored,” said Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “Government should not be casting a dragnet to track everyone going about their day through the state’s bridges and tunnels, especially not when that data could be shared with other law-enforcement agencies, including immigration authorities.”

Author’s note: This is terrifying, do we want to be like China? Is this the kind of society we want? If it proves to be successful in New York, it will likely be implemented all over the country. 

Editor’s note: This shows that Cuomo is clueless about the concepts of freedom and democracy. This kind of surveillance is oppressive and easily abused.

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  1. David Barron

    First outlaw the “Big Gulp”, then the facial recognition. I see illegal activity all over the place with this plan.

  2. Peter

    New York is becoming more like China every day. Thomas Friedman and the rest of the columnists at the New York Slimes must be ecstatic.