NOW: DIGITAL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS ARE USING FACIAL RECOGNITION SOFTWARE TO SCAN THOUSANDS OF FACES IN WASHINGTON, DC, “SEARCHING” FOR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, LOBBYISTS, AND THE PRESS | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

NOW: DIGITAL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS ARE USING FACIAL RECOGNITION SOFTWARE TO SCAN THOUSANDS OF FACES IN WASHINGTON, DC, “SEARCHING” FOR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, LOBBYISTS, AND THE PRESS

SOURCE: FIGHT FOR THE FUTURE
“THIS SHOULD PROBABLY BE ILLEGAL,” FIGHT FOR THE FUTURE ACTION WILL SHOW WHY FACE SURVEILLANCE SHOULD BE BANNED
Digital rights group Fight for the Future is currently conducting live facial recognition surveillance in Washington, DC, using Amazon’s commercially available Rekognition software to scan thousands of people’s faces and cross-check them with a database to track down members of Congress, Amazon lobbyists, and members of the press. The whole fiasco is being livestreamed at ScanCongress.com, which will show a live count of the number of faces scanned.

The action shows that facial recognition surveillance is dangerous both when algorithms work and when they don’t. Three activists are wearing white jumpsuits emblazoned with “Facial Recognition in Progress” and headgear equipped with a phone running facial recognition software. The trio are scanning faces at major metro stops and busy areas around Capitol Hill, looking for members of Congress and journalists, and around K street, looking for Amazon lobbyists. In the process, the group will collect biometric data on potentially thousands of DC residents and commuters.

See the livestream at ScanCongress.com

Photos and video available for use by press here. (We will update throughout the day)

Following the protest, Fight for the Future will release a web tool at ScanCongress.com that allows people who were in DC on Thursday to upload a photo and check whether their face was scanned. All the photos, and the facial recognition data, will be destroyed after two weeks.

“This should probably be illegal,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future (pronouns: she/her), “but until Congress takes action to ban facial recognition surveillance, it’s terrifyingly easy for anyone –– a government agent, a corporation, or just a creepy stalker –– to conduct biometric monitoring and violate basic rights at a massive scale.

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