The NYPD has begun to implement iris scanners to create a bio-metric database of criminal suspects as they are processed through central booking. NYPD says this new identification program is a fail-safe measure to prevent escapes as suspects move through the court system and that this technology is in response to two suspects escaping police custody by impersonating lesser offenders.
Jeff Carter, CDO of Global Rainmakers Inc. a leader in the biometrics field says, “In the future, whether it’s entering your home, opening your car, entering your workspace, getting a pharmacy prescription refilled, or having your medical records pulled up, everything will come off that unique key that is your iris. Every person, place, and thing on this planet will be connected [to the iris system] within the next 10 years.”
Global Rainmakers Inc. has partnered with the city of Leon, Mexico to build “the most secure city in the world.” by installing iris scanners. The eye scanners will be implemented in law enforcement facilities, security check-points, police stations, detention areas, jails and prisons, and will eventually make their way into mass transit, medical centers, banks and other public and private locations will also join the program.
Fast Company reports that the city is creating a database of irises. Criminals will automatically be enrolled, their irises scanned once convicted. Law-abiding citizens will have the option to opt-in. When these residents catch a train or bus, or take out money from an ATM, they will scan their irises, rather than swiping a metro or bank card. Police officers will monitor these scans and track the movements of watch-listed individuals.
Back in the U.S. at a Border Patrol station in McAllen, Texas the Department of Homeland Security beta tested iris scanners and in one Missouri county, the sheriff’s office is using an Iris scanner purchased with U.S. Department of Justice funds. Unknown by most, the technology is reportedly already being used by law enforcement in 40 states throughout the country.
There is even an app for that. B12 Technologies has equipped police with iPhones armed with facial recognition software linked to fusion center databases.
Amusement parks like Disney World and Sesame place have implemented biometric ticketing as well. How long before under the auspice of anti-terror legislation the federal government requires these corporations to turn over their customers biometric data? Even the controversial “naked body scanners” store biometric data as has been revealed by Freedom of Information (FOIA) Act Requests, contrary to what the TSA has been telling the main stream media.
The iris scanners have also been used in airports. The TSA will allow you to skip to the head of the line if you submit to being included in a biometric database. It all comes in the name of convenience. Trade your privacy to save a few minutes on line at the airport amusement park.
The NYPD program is being paid for by a grant from the Department of Homeland Security. The NYPD already shares its database information with DHS through its NYPD Intelligence Division, which is actually a known “fusion center.” These fusion centers act as hubs of information, merging databases from the NYPD, DHS, Motor Vehicle and many other sources to create a searchable catalog of the entire population. There are over 70 fusion centers in the United States according to Catherine Bleish founder of Operation Defuse whose goal is to create a rapport between civil liberty groups and the fusion centers that will “defuse” the conflict of security and rights violations.
“That’s not our intention here, but it has potential,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said in reference to using the iris scanners for counter terrorism purposes.
“The NYPD can now photograph the irises of suspects arrested for any reason and they implemented this without any legislative oversight or public discourse. There are also no reports on how authorities plan to protect this collected biometric data from misuse.” said David Perecman a civil liberties attorney in New York. That is probably because the NYPD Intelligence division has no plans to protect this information from being disseminated through the NY fusion centers allowing access to any law enforcement agency in the network.
“This type of data collecting is not authorized by any New York statute. Collecting fingerprints is specifically allowed. DNA evidence has had more legislative debate and its usage is only limited to certain types of cases.” said Perecman.
This information dovetails with another recent controversy over “stop and frisk” databases. Ray Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg pushed to keep the recently banned NYPD policy to keep a database of New Yorkers who were stopped and frisked but not found guilty of any violation. You read that correctly. Mayor Bloomberg wanted to keep a list of innocent people who the NYPD stopped and frisked with no probable cause in a direct violation of their Constitutional rights. Incidentally only 6 percent of those random stop and frisks lead to an arrest, the conviction rates were not readily available. That means that more than 94% of people in that database are innocent.
The “250” List as it is referred to because of the UF-250 form that officers use to file stop-and-frisk reports has over 3 million names on it. Eighty seven percent of those stopped were black or Latino.
Governor Paterson signed into law a ban on this policy, although that only stops the NYPD from keeping their names in an electronic database. The NYPD is still keeping a paper record of these stops even if no evidence of a crime has been found and no arrest made. The NYPD continues to violate the constitutional rights of New Yorkers randomly stopping people for reasons as innocuous as spitting on the ground or dropping a cigarette butt. It should also be noted that the Mayor Bloomberg has been lobbying for British style video surveillance in NYC. Britain has one CCTV camera for every 14 citizens.
So where do we see all of this going? If Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Ray Kelley get there way Police officers will be stopping, frisking and taking retinal scans of millions of innocent New Yorkers then data sharing with the Federal government, Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies in violation of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.