The Pentagon yesterday detailed the development of a massive computer surveillance system that would have the power to track people as never before. It would identify people at great distances by the irises of their eyes, the grooves in their face or even their gait. It would look for suspicious patterns in video footage of people’s movements. And it would analyze airline ticket purchases, visa applications, as well as financial, medical, educational and biometric records to try to predict terrorists’ acts or catch them in the planning stage. The technology does not yet exist, and no one knows whether its creation is even possible. Indeed, the very concept of what was originally known as the government’s Total Information Awareness initiative raised so many privacy and civil liberties issues that, in February, Congress banned its deployment. Legislators asked for more information about the project and sought an analysis about how citizens’ privacy would be balanced with the need for security. Full Story
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