The idea of an
architectural “Panopticon,” designed by Jeremy Bentham in the late
eighteenth century, was the most influential theoretical concept to
(Western) developing systems of penal surveillance. By allowing guards,
prison wardens, and visitors to observe inmates without the inmates seeing
them, Bentham’s Panopticon offered a tremendous boon to surveillance
techniques, and particularly to psychological control, throughout the 19th
and 20th centuries.
This section surveys year 2001 methods of “CopTech”
drawn from information provided by the National Law Enforcement and
Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC), and taken from major national and
international wire services, as well as periodicals focusing on law
enforcement and corrections technology. As you will see (without being
seen) from the NLECTC’s summaries and abstracts of articles, the
panoptic sweep of electronic surveillance and monitoring technologies goes
well beyond prison walls. Prophetically, Jeremy Bentham did not limit
applications of his Panopticon to the penitentiary, but thought it would
work well for “Houses of Industry, Workhouses, Poor Houses,
Manufacturies, Madhouses, Lazarettos, Hospitals, and Schools.” Given copitalism,
and the continued tendencies for power to conspire with capital, there is
no end in sight for the continued mirrored surveillance of our persons.
CopTech palpitates how, in the context of electronic information systems,
the dimensions of social and political control converge. —Ed.
The National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology
Center (NLECTC) provides the following information as a service to law
enforcement, corrections, and forensic science practitioners.
Please note that providing synopses of articles on law
enforcement and corrections technology or the mention of specific
manufacturers or products does not constitute the endorsement of the U.S.
Department of Justice, the NLECTC (or the Center for Cognitive Liberty &
For more information on NLECTC and the Web version of
this news summary, please visit JUSTNET at
http://www.nlectc.org. NLECTC may also be reached at
'Big Brother' Cameras On
Watch for Criminals
Pedestrians walking down
streets in the Tampa area have likely seen the warning "Area Under
Video Monitoring," which is part of a program unveiled on June 29
 as a way to deter crime. The new system—vehemently opposed by the
American Civil Liberties Union, House Republican leader Dick Armey, and
local residents—includes cameras that are linked to a computer that
randomly compares faces in the crowd to its database of 1,000 images. The
face recognition technology has matched several faces, but law enforcement
agencies have not yet made an arrest. Currently, the London borough Newham,
last year's Super Bowl, numerous U.S. embassies, and the Los Angeles area
have all used some form of the face recognition program.
USA Today (08/02/01) P. 3A; Kasindorf, Martin
New Crime-Fighting Camera
Raises Issue of
Privacy vs. Safety:
Tampa Using System That Can
Scan Faces in Crowd and Match to Police Database
Law Enforcement Alliance of America is condemning
Tampa's use of a high-tech security system within a popular nightlife
area. The system, the first of its kind to be used in a U.S. city, is a
violation of the privacy of innocent people, according to The Alliance.
Similar systems are used in Europe, U.S. government offices, banks, and
casinos. The employment of the new system was also criticized by House
Majority Leader Dick Armey.
The Tampa system, which features 36 surveillance
cameras, is connected to a database of mug shots of people sought by law
officers. Visionics Corp. developed the new system, which was able to
match 19 people wanted for minor offenses to attendees at this year's
Super Bowl; however no arrests were made.
Dallas Morning News (07/04/01) P. 10A; Koch, Nora
Tampa City Council
Narrowly Supports Face Scanning
The vote was largely symbolic, but the Tampa City
Council sided with Mayor Dick Greco's decision to keep using a
controversial face-scanning program in Ybor City [Florida].
Council Chairman Charlie Miranda broke the 3-3 tie,
lending his support to the mayor, who said he would keep the program
regardless of how the council voted. Greco alone has the power to cancel
the contract with Visionics Corp. The New Jersey company supplied the
software program, FaceIt, to the police department for a free, one- year
The software program lets police zoom in on faces in
the crowd, and the computer compares the electronic images to a database
filled with mug shots of wanted criminals and missing children.
It has drawn widespread criticism as an unlawful
invasion of privacy. “There is no reasonable expectation of privacy on a
public street,” Miranda said, explaining his vote.
Council members Linda Saul-Sena, Rose Ferlita and Shawn
Harrison, who want to cancel the contract, said they will vote against it
next year when it comes up for renewal. “We've got until next May to try
to change one mind,” Harrison said.
Tampa is the first city in the nation to use such
digital technology on public streets. Opponents as diverse as the American
Civil Liberties Union, various police associations, and Republican
congressional leaders have asked Tampa to reconsider.
“What you'll end up with is police confrontations
with innocent people,” Florida ACLU secretary Mike Pheneger told the
council. “This is nothing more than a high-tech version of a
But Greco and a majority on the council want to give
FaceIt a chance. If it doesn't work, they say they won't buy it. “We've
got to give it a chance to work,” Councilwoman Mary Alvarez said. “Or
else we'll never know.”
Laboratory studies by the Department of Defense suggest
that it won't. The government-sponsored experiments tested several
versions of the face-scanning software, and FaceIt proved to be one of the
best. But those tests were conducted in controlled settings under the best
When the lighting wasn't perfect and the test subject
wasn't looking directly at the camera, Visionics software made a
successful match three times in nine.
Tampa Tribune (08/03/01); Kinsler,Laura.
High Tech Databases, Psychology Aid Police
Five Massachusetts law enforcement agencies will
benefit from a $1.8 million measure approved by the Senate Subcommittee on
Commerce, Justice, and State, allowing them to buy computerized facial
recognition and data capture systems.
Worcester, Fitchburg, Fall River, Brockton, and New
Bedford police departments will obtain the systems, even though the
funding still needs approval from the Senate. The system works by scanning
faces in a crowd and matching an image to stored digital photos of known
offenders. Three Massachusetts-based biometric firms developed the
technology, which was used during last year's Super Bowl in Tampa. The
Florida system enabled police officers to match 19 offenders within the
crowd, although no arrests were made. The new system is expected to assist
the departments in organizing information on offenders, thus deterring
future criminals. Similar technologies are being utilized in San Diego
casinos, and by the Illinois State Police Department, which currently
features 8 million scanned faces in its database.
Worcester Telegram & Gazette (07/21/01) P. A1;
Police Receive Grant for Facial Recognition Software
According to A.M. Jacocks Jr., the chief of police in
Virginia Beach, Va., his department has received a $150,000 state grant to
install facial recognition software designed to assist police officers in
capturing runaways and criminals in the city of Oceanfront. If the local
city council adds in $50,000, Oceanfront will join Tampa, Fla., as the
only cities in the nation currently using the technology for law
enforcement purposes. Facial recognition software operates by creating a
so-called map of a person's face, and then comparing that face with
thousands of pictures in a database using 80 distinctive points. To get a
match, 14 points on a person's face must align with a picture in the
Associated Press 07/27/01
Grows Ever More Powerful
The video surveillance market reached over $1 billion
in 2000, up from $282 million in 1999. Current technology allows for
live-streaming video with sharp, color images and gives police the ability
to pan, tilt, or zoom the cameras. Despite the American Civil Liberties
Union's concerns about privacy, several entities, including the San
Francisco Bay Area RapidTransit System, California's Century Fast Foods,
the Las Vegas-area school district, and Boulder, Colorado's Vantum Corp.
are among the members of the video surveillance client list. The
technology is even more pervasive in Britain.
Associated Press (07/18/01); Wong, May
Surveillance Cameras: Taking
a Closer Look
The public may not be aware that law enforcement
agencies, casinos, retailers, and devious people are using sophisticated
surveillance cameras, which sometimes can read the serial numbers on a
dollar bill. However, New Jersey's Division on Civil Rights noticed when
Caesar's Atlantic City employees were abusing the casino's eagle-eyed
surveillance cameras by peering at women on the casino floor and on the
escalators. Casino officials contend they are cooperating with
authorities, but they would not disclose what action the casino would
take. New Jersey Assemblymen Steve Corodemus and Tom Smith, meanwhile,
recently saw the passing of their bill making it a crime to videotape
intimate or sexual behavior without consent; it is currently awaiting a
hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. In the meantime, Jersey
City is home to Visionics, which provided surveillance cameras to Ybor
City, Fla., where police monitor the city's entertainment district. Jersey
City also uses Visionics cameras; city police have been able to arrest 64
individuals as part of the program, which the mayor intends to continue
for the next two years.
New York Times (09/02/01) P. 6; Strunsky, Steve
Scanning of Prison Visitors Under Fire;
Inaccurate Drug Detector Prompts Unfair Penalties
A scanner that registers traces of microscopic
particles associated with 40 different types of drugs is coming under heat
from visitors to the State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh in Woods
Run, Pennsylvania, after apparently giving several false positive results,
including one for a prison guard's shift commander. Normally, if tested
positive for the first time, visitors are not allowed on prison grounds
for six months, and the information is often shared with other law
enforcement agencies, drawing heat from civil liberties organizations. The
machine searches for particles that are gathered on paper used to wipe
hands or clothing, or through a special vacuum. The scanner used in
Pittsburgh is designed by Mass.-based Ion Track Instruments, which
provides its Itemiser to federal and state prisons in 30 states, as well
as more than 40 airports.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (08/27/01) P. B5; Bucsko, Mike.
Viisage Technology to
Face Recognition Booking System to Pinellas County
Massachusetts Pinellas County Sheriff's Department has
awarded Viisage Technology a $2.7 million contract to provide the agency
with face recognition technology. The company—which developed the
recognition system in conjunction with MIT—is the leader in biometric
technologies and solutions. The new technology will aid Pinellas County
Law enforcement, along with other Florida agencies, with investigations
and inmate bookings. A part of the contract, Viisage will provide all
equipment for the new system, including additional tools needed to
positively identify suspects. According to county officials, Viisage was
the only company able to meet its specific needs in regards to criminal
investigations. Viisage provides thousands of nationwide agencies with 25
million superior-quality and high-security digital identification
Business Wire (07/27/01)
Inmates Face Eye Test for Drugs
Ontario, Canada, will begin using technology developed
by Maryland-based PMI Inc. on its inmate population to test if prisoners
are under the influence of contraband drugs or alcohol. Instead of taking
a urine test, inmates simply have to look into a special viewfinder to
determine whether they are currently on any illicit substance. The system
is being introduced in advance of new random drug testing policies that
will go into effect in 2002.
Toronto Star (06/27/01) P. A4
Inmates Hide Assortment of Metallic Items
Inmates can easily hide metallic objects such as
tweezers, lighters, safety pins, needles, and other items in orifices on
their bodies, but the "Big BOSS" system, which is a chair that
scans and detects metallic objects hidden on or in the body, has been
improving security in Arizona jails, according to Arizona State Prison
Complex-Eyman warden Jeffrey Hood. The chair, which costs $6,500, scans an
inmate's head, lower digestive tract, groin, rectum area, and feet, and
sounds an alarm if any foreign objects are detected. In the last six
weeks, 17 inmates were caught hiding items, says Hood.
The only drawback is that the machine cannot be used
for extended periods of time without shutting it down and letting it cool
off, says Hood. Physical contact is still required to find non-metallic
foreign objects that inmates are hiding from officers.
Associated Press (08/08/01); Lau, Jodie
Spies in the Sky Keep
Track of Ex-Cons on the Ground
Some of Florida's convicted criminals are under
constant supervision without being housed in prisons, thanks to the use of
Global Positioning System (GPS). The system, which is currently monitoring
600 convicts in Florida, uses a satellite, and can be programmed to alert
authorities when a sex offender, for instance, is going near a schoolyard.
GPS tracking is more effective than the old electronic
monitoring system, which many states still employ. The new technology can
locate the offender from room to room within a house, or on a street
corner. However, probation officers will still have to physically check on
persons who are on the program, which lasts about two years.
The new system costs $9.17 per day, compared to $50 a
day for an state prison-housed inmate, or $3 per day for conventional
Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel (07/04/01) P. 1A; Clary,
Susan; O'Boye, Shannon;Othon, Nancy L.
Problem Drivers on a Short Leash
Suspended drivers may be forced to wear a new wireless
device on their wrists after conviction. The device, developed by Optimus,
beams a coded signal to police cars that have a special antenna and a
mobile computer. The system was created as part of an initiative by the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and is being tested by
police in Norwalk, Connecticut. According to officials, the Problem Driver
Detection System will alert law enforcement when a restricted driver is
operating a vehicle by tripping the system within the police vehicle as
long as its within about a quarter-mile.
System designers hope to add a Global Positioning
System function in the future, allowing officers to locate the exact area
of the transmitter. In addition, the system will be mostly funded by the
offenders, while law enforcement agencies will be responsible for the
Civic.com (07/27/01); Robinson, Brian
MTA Gives Court Toll-Use Data,
Spurs Privacy Fears About Fast Lane
A recent court ruling ordered the Massachusetts
TurnPike Authority (MTA) to provide automatic toll-collection records
regarding a suspect in a criminal investigation. The records provide
timelines for when vehicles pass through virtual tollbooths located on the
Massachusetts Turnpike and a few other tunnels via Fast Lane radio
transponders in stalled on the vehicles. The original terms of
implementing the Fast Lane program called for all records to remain
The MTA argued against the court's attempt to access
its records for the investigation, but the judge presiding over the matter
rejected its position. Privacy advocates have expressed concern about
government agencies accessing data collected by way of the fast lane
system since its inception in 1998. But MTA spokesman Bob Bliss said that
with over 6.5 million transactions handled by the system each month, the
court order was inconsequential.
Boston Globe (08/13/01) P. C4
Motorists Race to Court to Challenge
Red-Light Cameras; Photos Called Privacy Threat
In California, attorney Arthur Tait is representing
over 300 clients objecting to the use of red light cameras, which allow
law enforcement bodies to issue tickets for running red lights without
being on the scene. According to surveys, Americans endorse the use of
cameras at intersections to fight the running of red lights—which
results in 800 deaths annually. Still, many say the cameras are not always
accurate and that they compromise privacy. Tait asserts that criminals may
face their accusers by law, but now the accusers are cameras, and that the
program is unconstitutional because its aim is to create revenue. The
opposition also asserts that cameras may transfer incorrect information
and that they provide unclear pictures of the cars' drivers. In a previous
case, lawyers secured the opportunity to examine the binary code from a
camera computer chip to assess camera malfunction. San Diego law
enforcement officers also have discovered that asphalt sensors have moved,
which could affect data, and they are now auditing the entire system.
House Majority Leader Dick Armey's staff has released a report that
suggests intersections with cameras have shortened yellow light time to
boost violations and fines, but Mark Maddox of Lockheed Martin IMS, which
created and operates most of the cameras, denies the charge.
USA Today (09/06/01) P. 3A; Alvoid,Valerie.
Airport License Plate
Cameras Raise Privacy Concerns
A majority of large US airports are using camera
systems to record the license plate numbers of cars entering and leaving
parking facilities. The purpose of the initiatives is to prevent patrons
from trading in their parking tickets for ones indicating less elapsed
time and to dissuade parking attendants from keeping proceeds for
themselves. Sarah Andrews and Chris Hoofnagle of Washington, D.C.'s
Electronic Privacy Information Center are among the privacy advocates
concerned that the license plate information may be used by law
enforcement and marketers. The chance of the data being employed by third
parties is enhanced when the airport does not purge the information
regularly. No instances of police using parking facility data for their
work have been uncovered by privacy proponents; Metropolitan Washington
Airports Authority spokesman Tom Sullivan notes that his organization does
not sell the data to commercial vendors. Center for Democracy and
Technology analyst Ari Schwartz asserts that data from red-light cameras
and facial recognition cameras are eventually used for other purposes in
The fact that utilizing an airport parking facility is
a voluntary act makes it more justifiable than red-light cameras,
according to Richard Diamond, a spokesman for Dick Armey (D-Texas).
Arizona Republic (08/12/01) P. A10; Rosenberg, Eric.
Eyes to the Sky as Heathrow Looks To Biometrics
EyeTicket will conduct trial tests of its iris-scanning
technology at London's Heathrow Airport in October, the first large-scale
test of biometric identification techniques. If the testing is successful,
the iris recognition system would eventually replace passports and tickets
needed for air travel. The system works by scanning the iris and
disclosing the identify of a traveler within minutes, along with passport,
ticket, and frequent flier information. The JetStream scanning device will
be tested at Heathrow's Virgin and British Airways terminals. Following
tests, officials hope to implement the system in about 40 major airports,
with the backing of the International Air Transport Association.
VNUNet (07/31/01); Middleton, James.
Airports Trying Out Iris Identification
The JetStream Passenger Processing System, an
iris-scanning tool developed by EyeTicket, will be used by British Air
Ways and Virgin Atlantic Airways at Heathrow Airport in London on a trial
basis, to see if it can be employed to expedite passage through passport
control. About 2,000 American and Canadian passengers will have their
irises scanned at the airport, the image of which will be converted into a
code and stored in a database. The next time the passenger arrives at the
airport, he will proceed to a special line in the passport control Area of
the airline terminal, stand about 14 inches away from a camera, and wait
for a few seconds as the system matches the image of his iris with those
stored on the server. Security experts say that iris-scanning technology
is more secure then other biometric systems, such as facial recognition
and digitized finger prints, because it has 240 unique areas that can be
read. Currently, similar equipment is being used for airline employees in
Charlotte, North Carolina, to limit access to secure areas. Inspass, which
analyzes hand geometry, has been used since 1996 at Kennedy International
Airport and Miami Airport, on about 65,000 travelers who are enrolled in
Baltimore Sun (08/06/01) P. 1C; Greenman, Catherine.
Aye for an Eye
The biometric security systems market is expected by
Cahners In-Stat group to grow from $228 million to $520 million from 2000
to 2005. The systems scan users' fingers, hands, faces, or eyes to verify
their identity. Marlene Bourne, a senior analyst at Cahners, indicates
that three-quarters of 1999 finger-scan technology revenue was gleaned
Biometric technology was used by 4 percent of
businesses at a cost of $90 million. The International Biometric Group
Reports that the biggest share of business spending at 39 percent was to
control physical access to buildings or rooms, with monitoring an
employee's office time accounting for 16 percent of spending. The most
lucrative future market for biometrics in the business setting may be to
ensure security of personal computers and networks.
Industry Standard (07/23/01) Vol. 4, No. 28, P. 56;
Looking Into the Future; Iris Recognition
Could Replace Pins and Passwords
New Jersey-based Iridian 1 Technologies has patented an
iris recognition device that is used at ATM machines in Texas, an airport
in North Carolina, and a Pennsylvania prison. It works by capturing the
image of a person's iris; using a video conferencing camera; and
establishing a 512-byte code of the image's unique characteristics. Each
subsequent time the person has his iris scanned, the image is compared to
those already stored in a database to determine whether access is
permitted, in just a matter of seconds. Though the FBI, CIA, and Defense
Department have been using this technology for years, it is just beginning
to be utilized by other groups.
Lancaster County Prison in Pennsylvania uses it to
identify inmates and monitor visitors. North Carolina's Charlotte/Douglas
International Airport installed the technology in May 2000 to restrict
access in secure areas for airline and airport employees, and according to
the company, with an accuracy rate of 100 percent. Overall, the biometric
industry made $196 million last year, with finger imaging being the most
popular tool, but voice and face recognition technologies also staking
Bergen Record (08/06/01) P. L6; Pries, Allison.
New Service Offers Background Checks via Internet
Indiana now lets local businesses search police records
online in order to conduct background searches on potential employees. The
process, which takes up to two weeks if done by mail—or requires a
representative to go to the police station in person if immediate
information is needed—makes screenings available to companies who
previously eschewed the time-consuming process. As of July 1, the service
will cost nothing for schools and nonprofits; businesses will pay a
subscription fee of $50, in addition to $20 for each search—a mailed
request, in contrast, costs only $7. The site lists all felony and
misdemeanor convictions as well as arrests that did not result in
Associated Press (07/06/01).
ECop on the Beat
The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department in
California is currently testing wireless and handheld computers that will
allow police officers to perform searches and access information while
away from their cars. ECop, with the help of Microsoft, utilizes existing
IT infrastructure and data bases to perform identity searches on
suspicious people when a formal report is not needed and an arrest is not
The system returns data about a suspect's Social
Security number, physical description, birth date, etc., and alerts an
officer to any critical information, and if more data is needed, a search
of the Web can be conducted though the device.
A built-in camera will soon be incorporated into the
equipment, speeding up the identification process. The system is expected
to save the average officer about 1,800 hours in work per year, time that
would have been spent on manually filling out and searching through
Government Technology (06/01) Vol. 14, No. 8; Robb,
U.S. Fighting Drugs With High-Tech Tools
At a recent convention organized by the White House
Office of National Drug Control Policy, law enforcement officers and drug
treatment experts examined new high-tech contraband detectors and drug
treatment equipment. One such device was the Mobile Vehicle and Cargo
Inspection System, which is a high-energy scanning device that can be
mounted on vehicles.
The device, developed by the Science Applications
International Corp., uses gamma rays to produce computer images of the
inside of suspected vehicles, which can be analyzed by law enforcement
San Diego Union-Tribune (06/30/01) P. B3; Sanchez,
Radar Device Peeks Through Walls
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have
applied for a patent on a radar device that can detect the presence of
another person based on his or her respiration.
The radar flashlight uses electromagnetic energy to see
through brick, wood, plasterboard, glass, and concrete walls as many as
eight inches thick, at distances of up to about 10 feet. Privacy advocates
may oppose the use of such a device by law enforcement officials.
Design News (08/06/01) P. 14.
“Taser” guns are popping up in police departments
all over the world, including several states within the United States and
the United Kingdom. U.K.'s Metropolitan Police intend to use Tasers on
London streets by this December, even though the safety of the Taser has
not been thoroughly studied.
The technology works by firing two barbed darts; in
turn, the voltage between the darts is able to interfere with the nervous
system of the person targeted. While the technology is able to stop
offenders with one shot, side effects from the Taser have not yet been
measured, despite the implication that the gun caused the miscarriage of a
pregnant woman in the United States. In addition, company officials claim
they are not responsible for the worldwide introduction of the Taser
without independent reviews.
New Scientist (08/11/01) Vol. 171, No. 2303, P. 11.
Rick Smith, CEO of Scottsdale, Arizona's Taser
International, believes Tasers are the future of non-lethal weapons
technology. Tasers have an advantage over other weapons through their
ability to immediately incapacitate a person, by means of electric charges
that flow through electrode darts imbedded in the victim's skin or
clothing. Jack Cover, inventor of the Taser, notes that the device is very
effective in making the most agitated people reasonable and cooperative.
The M26, a $400 Taser International product with a range of 21 feet, has
self-imposed tracking technology that can be used to tell which officer
fired the weapon, when it was fired, and where it was purchased.
Amnesty International petitioned the Department of
Commerce to begin forcing companies to get export licenses when they send
electroshock products to other countries because of its concerns about the
devices becoming the weapon of choice for torturers. In its "Stopping
the Torture Trade" report, Amnesty asserts that more safety studies
of the products and stricter export regulations are necessary before the
weapons should be allowed to remain on the market. Smith feels that the
humanitarian group is unfairly categorizing the Taser with stun guns and
stun batons, as Amnesty's research does not find any instances of his
company's product being used for torture. Tasers are unlikely to cause a
victim's death on their own, according to a Journal of Forensic Science
report, but can be fatal when combined with other factors.
Phoenix New Times (08/16/01); Hibberd, James.
Available to Civilian Law Enforcement
The 1990 National Defense Authorization Act allowed the
secretary of defense to transfer excess departmental property to drug law
enforcement agencies, under the management of the secretary of the Defense
for Drug Enforcement Policy and support. By 1996, responsibility for the
program was transferred to the Virginia-based Law Enforcement Support
office and property transfer privileges were granted to all federal and
state law enforcement agencies, with emphasis on drug-fighting and
counterterrorism units. Since 1995, hundreds of billions of dollars in
Defense Department equipment has been recycled this way, including
aircrafts. Georgia alone has 747 law enforcement organizations who
participate in the program, and 16 helicopters have been acquired by the
State thus far.
Sheriff (08/01) Vol. 53, No. 4, P. 42; Katzaman, Jim.
Go Ahead, Try to Lie
The U.S. Department of Defense is attempting to create
a better polygraph machine. The polygraph machine, which was first
introduced almost 100 years ago, is routinely used to screen thousands of
job applicants and government employees every year, as well as in criminal
investigations. In recent times, however, the device's reputation has
suffered from claims that its use violates people's privacy and that it is
not always reliable. Over the last 24 months, the U.S. Department of
Defense has increased research on alternative technologies through studies
regulated by its Fort Jackson, South Carolina-based Polygraph Institute.
Andrew Ryan, chief of Research at the Institute, is working with the Johns
Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory to create software that can
detect minor variations in biofeedback to tell if someone is lying.
The Institute is also looking into technologies that
could augment polygraph testing with techniques that are less invasive.
The U.S. Customs service has been testing a remote-sensing device for the
capture of smugglers, which measures incriminating inflections,
vibrations, and tones in a person's voice. Muscle tremors might also
provide indications that someone is lying, and these can be detected using
a body-scanning laser, which also determines respiration and heart rates.
The level of blood flow, which can be configured by measuring skin-surface
temperature, might also change when someone is lying: a recent pilot study
using thermal imaging cameras was able to detect a person lying 78 percent
of the time.
Discover (07/01); Wright, Karen.
FBI's 'Carnivore' Might Target Wireless Text
An association of telecommunications carriers are
warning that the FBI could soon be using the Carnivore electronic
eavesdropping device to capture wireless text messages. In a letter sent
to the FCC, Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association general
counsel Michael Altschulaid that the telecom industry could not devise
sufficient standards and procedures to allow FBI investigators to capture
the contents of wireless text messages the same way they can listen in on
analog communications. Such ability is required by law, and thus the
industry's failure to provide the FBI with a solution could mean the use
of Carnivore, which privacy and technology experts say gleans far more
information than is needed by investigators. Carnivore has not been shown
to be as selective in the gathering of information as targeted data
collection carried out by ISPs, say privacy advocates. These distinctions—such
as those between content and data packet origin and destination—have
important legal and privacy ramifications.
Washington Post (08/24/01) P. E1; O'Harrow Jr., Robert.