1984 in Tampa Bay?

excerpt from http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/16561.html

"Feds use biometrics against Super Bowl fans
By: Thomas C Greene in Washington
Posted: 01/02/2001 at 18:19 GMT

Super Bowl 2001 fans were secretly treated to a mass, biometric scan in which video cameras tied to a temporary law-enforcement command centre digitised their faces and compared them against photographic lists of known malefactors.

Everyone entering Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida last Sunday was subjected to the surveillance system cameras, set up at the entrance turnstiles. No notice or disclosure was ever given, and no one, therefore, had an opportunity to decline to enter the stadium if they should have objected to this unprecedented treatment. "


Hmm…why would a fan object? If they were a criminal afraid of getting caught? If they were not a criminal but afraid of being wrongly accused by a technology mistake?

Is anything wrong with using technology to deter crime? If I remember right, 1984 was about the mis-use and over-use of gvmnt and police authority. However, I’m not sure it was being mis-used here. Nobody was even caught by the biometrics, were they?

How big were these “lists of known malefactors”? Hundreds? Thousands of people? If they are known malefactors, why haven’t they been apprehended and arrested?

A first blush, it seems scary and abusive, but it really ain’t.
No one going to an event with umpteen thousand other people could possibly expect privacy. And the cameras could only note what was visible (i.e., what a cop could see with his/her own two/four eyes).
Quite frankly, I’m impressed the cops had the creativity to think of it.
But according to Conan, it didn’t work. They only found criminals when the cameras pointed at the field. :wink:


This just translates into power, pure and simple.

If you give some anonymous idiotic bureaucrat
a tool, he will eternally strive to find some use for it. And then he will look for another one. and another one…
The bottom line is that I do not want to vest our government with unlimited power to watch, regulate and control us. Our freedom loving government is already stepping on toes by accident, (in a Brazil kind of way) what happens 30 years down the road when the government IS being intentionally malevolent? (in a 1984 kind of way) Do you think you can just ask for this privacy back?

I do not look for my gov’t to be an eternal parent that keeps tabs on my whereabouts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I never buy into the arguement, if you are not doing something wrong, you shouldn’t mind. The real question should be Why the hell should we give this power to the government? Do they absolutely need it?

Just a little projection on future uses of this…

Assuming these cameras come into general use…

(sport arenas, airports, liquor stores, 7-11’s, ATMs etc…)

If they scan you at your seats, then someone somewhere paid for those seats. Most likely with a credit card. That means there is a name and addres on file. While the name on the credit card is not likely to be the face in the seat, (especially at the superbowl) I am sure that a database could be worked up to match every face ever used in conjunction with your credit card until they had a good fix on what name belonged to each face.
From this point on, you are tracked, logged, and filed everytime you fill your car up for gas.
But if you are not doing anything wrong, why should you care?

(let’s just march down and donate our fingerprints and DNA while we are at)
Visions of that Stallone movie (where he fights Wesley Snipes) in the future pop into my head. You get automatically fined for every infraction. Jaywalk, errrrrrrrr $25 has been automatically deducted from your account to pay your fine. Spitting??? errrrrrrr $35 has been automatically deducted form your account to pay your fine. Did you use a racial slur? Please report to the nearest police station for incarceration for your hate crime.

Sorry, I’ll pass on micromanagement of my life.


All of this happened at the Superbowl without anyone knowing. Do you think they will ask anyone what they think before they expand the uses of this?

I suggest everyone go out and get David Brin’s latest book, “The Transparent Society”.

Tricks like this will only become more and more common. Cameras will become ubiquitous, storage and transmission of date becomes easier and easier.

There is NO WAY to stop the cameras, short of totalitarianism. The only solution is that for every camera pointed at you, you have a camera pointed back. You can’t stop people finding out about you, but they can’t stop you from finding out that they are finding out about you.

Freedom2: great post. They can go to Hell.

Remember, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.

So people are afraid of police cameras and computers? What about secutiry cameras at banks and shopping malls? Do you think all forms of technology dangerous in the govt and police’s hands? Are radar guns acceptable technology?

Personally, if I were attending the super bowl, I would rather the cops used the cameras to help make the event safer. I wouldn’t find my face scanned in exchange for the benefit of knowing some Timothy McVeigh is less likely to set a bomb off at the game.

Things that are done by private citizens are not always ok when done by the government.

The more centralized something is, the more potential for abuse there is.
Plus, if you can’t see the difference between cameras in malls to stop shoplifting and a giant network of computers that can recognize who they are looking at, record their whereabouts, record who they interacted with, record what they purchased and keep this readily available for access, then I can see why you do not have a problem with it.

I can’t tell if you are pushing the slippery slope arguement here or a straw man.

…and based on the way Ilike to drive I would love to ban radar guns:)

What about if they arrested each and every person with an outstanding ticket, served civil warrants on the spot, served fines for people who did not have their animals registered etc…etc…

The bottom line is that this is intrusive.


A system like this would have had no effect on McVeigh. He was not a known terrorist at the time.

I think folks may be overreacting. Here’s a slightly different take on the issue from the Reuters http://news.altavista.com/scripts/editorial.dll?ei=2376759&ern=y

Quotes like:


make me think that this was the result of a biometrics company duping law enforcement with inflated success stories and garnering alot of free publicity.

Lemur866 wrote:

God, I hope so. I haven’t had a date in almost two y–

What do you mean, “typo”?!

Personally, I’m not afraid of this. When you go to a sporting event, your face can easily end up projected on national television at any time. If you’re a wanted criminal, you’re running the risk that someone will recognize you (America’s Most Wanted, off-duty cops as arena security, and all that) and call the cops.

What I question is whether this is even truly possible with the present level of technology.

*How long does it take for the computer to compare ONE face against the database of “wanted” or criminal-record photos? Multiply that time by the number of people in the stadium, which is somewhere in the five digits.

*How many criminal-record photos are in a digital form and on an readily-accessible computer? Do all the photos of every arrestee or convict (even someone last arrested 10 years ago in some podunk rural county?) end up in a database accessible to all police agencies? If not, a wanted criminal could be staring right into the camera but if their photo isn’t in the database it doesn’t mean bupkis!

ISTM that this system is “vaporware” of a sort and that the authorities said they were doing this with the intent of scaring away known troublemakers from this or future sporting events, not with any realistic hope that they would catch anyone.

Oh, yeah - there’s justice in action. “He ran from the officers who were shooting at him - obviously he’s guilty!” :rolleyes:

But, on the whole, I don’t think it was any kind of invasion of privacy or misuse of power. If you’re wanted for a crime, you’re wanted for a crime, and law enforcement’s job is to find you to pay for that crime. If you’re stupid enough to hang out at a football game, then you’re stupid enough to get caught, either by a video camera or the fact that an off-duty police officer happens to be sitting in the row behind you and you don’t know it.


I’d just like to point out, Espric, this is a very odd comment from someone complaining about Red light cameras.

If they did this in a state where sodomy is illegal they could see you kissing someone, use it as probable cause to further investigate your actions at home, get a seaach warrent, and bust you for sodomy. But then if you’re gonna do something illegal, you shouldn’t be stupid enough to go to a football game. :rolleyes:

Sorry dude, I think you’re in the wrong on this one.

and sorry about the the Espric

Esprix, Esprix, Esprix.

Right, this is/will be disturbing, but what can be done about it? You can’t ban the cameras, it won’t work. Although this particular episode didn’t work, within 10 years it WILL work.

Cameras and data storage will be so cheap that every cop will have a digital videocamera on his hat. Every interaction with the cops is going to be taped, and used against you in a court. There will be cameras on every street corner, coupled with the processing power to do some serious data-crunching on what they record.

But, this doesn’t have to lead to 1984. Cause if the cops have cameras, so do the citizens. The use of video cameras to catch bad cops during the Seattle Riots is just the beginning. Image EVERY potential Rodney King having a video camera with him. And imagine juries getting very suspicious of cops claiming that their camera just happened to fail when they had to use force to restrain a suspect. And imagine cameras and microphones broadcasting to the internet at every meeting where people are trying to do things in secret.

The cameras don’t just point at the citizens, they point back. Unless we start trying to ban them, or formulate a privacy policy. Then the powerful people get their cameras, with the power to keep them secret, while the law prohibits the little guys from spying back.

Transparency is the only answer. You spy on me, I spy on you. You know what I’m up to, but I know what you’re up to. It will take some societal adjustment, but it’s better than the alternative. Unless you can think of a way to keep spy cameras and microphones out of the hands of the powerful…


I know you mean well, but you are creeping me out.
Reading your posts in this thread makes me want to buy 50 acres in Montana and move.:slight_smile:

Of course then I’ll probably be so scared of the locals that I’ll want to have my property protected by cameras…


Stuck in NJ…

“Paranoia strikes deep / Into your life it will creep / It starts when you’re always afraid / Step out of line, the man comes to take you away…”

A question for all you folks who are always so afraid of “the government”: what makes you think you’re important enough for them to come after you?
I mean, have you aver noticed that the most paranoid people are the ones who have the least impact on society–the ones hardly anyone would miss if they were taken away?
Or is it just their way of making themselves feel important?

I think that the reason for the cameras was probably to prevent a sort of “Black Sunday” type situation with terrorism at the Super Bowl. The “list of known malefactors” was probably a list of international terrorists. I can see why they’d want as much security as possible, as the Super Bowl probably has more American viewers than any other live event - if you wanted to make a statement to America by blowing something up, what bigger stage would there be?

  • Freedom2 said:*

As opposed to using your credit card at the mall, where the corporate power structure NEVER uses that same information to ‘promote’ products directly to you. Or going to a web site and entering all the information that they ask for when you register. Web Sites NEVER use that information, either.

On an un-serious note:

It’s a good thing that the Super Bowl wasn’t held in New Orleans this year. Give the cameramen some beads to give out, and imagine all the ‘Girls Gone Wild’ footage the cops could have gotten!!! :smiley: