The government is coming! For me, for you, and for whoever stands in its way.
Another step towards control and totalitarianism has been made after a school in New York was chosen as the pilot experiment of a mass surveillance system based on facial recognition.
The program, dubbed “Aegis,” will be the first of its kind in the U.S. and had already commenced since last week, on June 3rd.
Endgadget has covered this story and revealed how the Lockport City School District in New York has underwent all the necessary upgrades and procedures to start using Aegis on its students and staff.
The fun part is that the surveillance system is exclusively funded by tax payer money with a different intended purpose on paper.
As reported by Engadget, “the district installed cameras and the software suite back in September, using $1.4 million of the $4.2 million funding it received through the New York Smart Schools Bond Act.”
“Funding provided through the Bond Act is supposed to go towards instructional tech devices, such as iPads and laptops, but the district clearly had other plans.”
Parents have received ambiguous reasoning regarding the purpose of Aegis.
BuzzFeed News got hold of a copy of the letter that was handed to students’ parents.
In it, Aegis is portrayed as “an early warning system” with the ability to notify school officials of any potential risk factor that enters the school.
The system, designed by Canadian company SN Technologies, uses face recognition software to keep track of and to predict the behavior of anyone entering the school’s premises.
It operates under the umbrella of safety, which is the most potent alibi in term of public acceptance.
However, that doesn’t change the intrusive nature of this technology that can have implications on vital human rights such as privacy and freedom of expression.
Even more, the “smart city” initiative will transform the society we’re living in as we know it.
In the near future, facial recognition software will be everywhere and people will get accustomed to it.
All electronic devices will send data input to a central computer that will tend to the needs of the social environment it governs over…or of those in charge of that environment.
With the Aegis system in place, Lockport officials will be able to keep a close eye on people that have broken the school rules and are or have been suspended, regardless if they are staff or students.
Creators of Aegis claim that all recorded footage will be erased after 60 days, and they won’t track the movement of whoever enters the school’s premises unless they are on the monitoring list.
Although people in charge of this surveillance operation claim to limit the functions of Aegis to facial recognition only, there’s no saying how the rest of the data gathered will be used, or by whom.
Attracted by the idea of improved security, people will be lured into accepting this mass surveillance system that only paves the way to a super-controlled society of the near future.
While this may fool some people into accepting it as the right thing, others will not fall for another “wolf in sheep clothing” trap.
For this reason, conscious (and worried) citizens like Stefanie Coyle, an education counsel for the New York Civil Liberties Union has taken action and demanded the New York State Education Department to halt the project.
Stefanie’s initiative is encouraged by the recent success in San Francisco, a city filled with tech companies, where such intrusive technology has been forbidden.
“Why in the world would we want this to come to New York,” she said, “and, even more, in a place where there are children?”
Improved security and less crimes in public schools would be a good reason for this. But is this surveillance technology going to lead anywhere near that?
From what we’ve seen in the past, no single initiative of the government to subdue its people through a fear ideology has worked by now, so why would this one pan out differently?
Whatever the case, this mass-surveillance tech looks like a double-edged sword.
On one hand, it can bring some benefits, but on the other, it will strip us of our privacy entirely…the little that we have left.
I’m truly eager to hear your thoughts on this. Do you find Aegis a good or bad thing?
Do you think this technology is working in favor of the American public or it rather hides some selfish and dark interests?