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The government of United States just like the government of other countries is spying on its own people. The recent leaks about NSA’s Prism have made public aware of what their government has been doing over the past few years. Now it seems like government surveillance over the citizens in the US is going to get even worse as it has been reported that government is making gains in its work of developing a facial scanning based surveillance system.
The surveillance system will be able to pair video cameras with computers, which will be capable of scanning large number of people in a crowd. The system will be able to recognize people just by scanning the incoming footage. The system is called Biometric Optical Surveillance System of more appropriately BOSS. It has been developed by two years of government funded development and was ready last fall. A total of $5.2 million was spent in those two years.
The BOSS is not ready for use at this moment however the people working on this project have made big gains recently which have brought this system even closer to roll out stage.
While the facial scanning capability of government rings all sorts of bells in general public who are obviously concerned about their privacy it could also be beneficial for government as well as people on a large scale. For example the system could be used to identify terrorists who usually attack places with large amounts of people. It can also be used to identify fugitives, thieves or even killers while they are roaming freely in crowded places and posing threat to people.
Of course while this technology has fair uses as mentioned above, it also has uses that can be a threat to general public. This system will allow governments to have a tight surveillance over its people and track their movements. Once BOSS is rolled out to large number of areas the government will be able to track your whereabouts without you even noticing.
Although US Government has made gains in its effort of making surveillance through face scanning possible experts still believe that crowd scanning is still very slow and unreliable and it isn’t getting a lot better any time soon despite the advancement in computers and other technologies.
The origins of BOSS research are pretty interesting. According to a report the work on face scanning surveillance system began when the US government wanted to detect potential suicide bombers attacking outdoor polling places in war affected countries like Afghanistan and Iraq. Then back in 2010 the government decided to develop and implement this system for US so it can help police in the country.