It’s not about writing tickets, saving lives or fighting climate change; it’s about knowing where every digitally marked human being is at all times.
The digitization of transportation is kicking into high gear.
I reported on my Substack recently about a citizen backlash in San Diego over that city’s plans to embed mass-surveillance technology along highways, at intersections, light poles, etc.
So-called “smart city” technology includes ultra-high resolution, internet-connected cameras, license-plate readers, facial-recognition scanners and speakers. It will set the framework for digital eyes and ears to spy on citizens 24/7, uploading personal data in real time to be perused and analyzed by law enforcement, financial decision-makers and other third-party stakeholders.
I reported on June 28 on how the Atlanta airport in cooperation with Delta Airlines is offering specialized “hands free” and “card free” services to air passengers who agree to take a biometric digital ID driver’s license containing a facial scan. But I also discovered that American citizens are having their faces scanned by facial-recognition software, often without their permission, before they board international flights leaving not just Atlanta but many other U.S. airports.
The tools of the surveillance state, however, are not just being installed in major cities and international airports.
Kootenai County in North Idaho is also up against a smart city plan.
And the city of Jackson, Wyoming, last week became the latest to install AI-powered mass surveillance cameras.
According to Frontline News, cameras using automated license-plate recognition (ALPR) technology can scan passing cars and capture license-plate numbers, makes and models, colors, and identifying markers such as bumper stickers or broken tail lights.
They then use artificial intelligence to break this data down into searchable queries and match them against the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC). If there is a match, a real-time alert is sent to law enforcement.
The cameras feed into a centralized mass camera network owned by the manufacturer, Flock Safety, which it calls a “public safety platform.”
Last Wednesday, the Jackson Town Council voted to spend $185,000 to install 30 ALPR Falcon cameras from Flock Safety, but even those who voted in favor of the purchase expressed trepidation.