Recent investigative reports, revelations of government collection of email and telephone data as well as the release tomorrow, August 28, of a movie that does not position public security video in a good light all seem to be aiming at resurrecting Big Brother.
Closed Circuit, the movie, includes a lot of creepy footage of real security video from London, according to movie reviews. Director John Crowley amplifies the sense that London has become a police state by frequently shifting between the film’s own omniscient point of view and footage lifted from security cameras around town, which feels creepy by comparison.
And that comes on the heels of a front page story in the New York Times just days ago on the US project called BOSS, which reports government is getting closer to a national database for facial recognition through security video cameras.
After the positive coverage of security video after the Boston Marathon bombing, and public support of its use even though, in hindsight, video played little role in identifying and capturing the terrorists, more recent media coverage including the N.S.A. programs can have a cumulative effect.
Using Freedom of Information Act documents, the newspaper story reports that the federal government progressing on development of a surveillance system that would pair computers with video cameras to scan crowds and automatically identify people by their faces.
The Department of Homeland Security has tested a crowd scanning project called the Biometric Optical Surveillance System or BOSS last fall after two years of government financed development. Although the system is not ready for use, researchers say they are making significant advances. That alarms privacy advocates, who say that now is the time for the government to establish oversight rules and limits on how it will someday be used.
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