The Journal of
Cognitive Liberties

This article is from Vol. 2, Issue No. 3 pages 69-82
© 2001 CENTER FOR COGNITIVE LIBERTY AND ETHICS
All rights reserved worldwide.  ISSN: 1527-3946

 

 

 

 

CopTech

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 & Ethics).

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 1-800-248-2742.

'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 [2001] 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 test.

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 stop-and-frisk.”

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 conditions.

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; Anderson, Tania

 

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 database.

Associated Press 07/27/01

 

Video Surveillance 
Grows Ever More Powerful and Pervasive

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 Provide 
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 documents.

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 electronic monitoring.

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 antenna cost.

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 confidential.

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 other databases.

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 the program.

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 from governments.

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; Lake, David.

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 their claims.

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 convictions

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 made.

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 paper-based reports.

Government Technology (06/01) Vol. 14, No. 8; Robb, Drew

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 officials.

San Diego Union-Tribune (06/30/01) P. B3; Sanchez, Leonel

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.

Shock Tactics

“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.

Shocking Accusations

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.

Military Equipment 
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.

 

 

 

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