DHS spied on almost 300,000 families & fans of ‘Tri-City Americans’ hockey team is using facial recognition to identify everyone


DHS is in the midst of a project where video footage taken of people moving throughout the Toyota Center in Kennewick, Wash., will be combined with mock profiles of volunteers (This is 100% B/S  no one refused). Then various commercial off-the-shelf facial recognition products will be tested to see how accurate they are.

The data being collected consists of video taken during home games of the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is handling video collection. Results from the facial recognition assessment will be made available to the government.  

“What we’d like to see is how well the current facial recognition systems perform,” said Patricia Wolfhope, program manager in DHS’ Science & Technology Directorate. “The only way to do that is to compare the data we are going to get from this data collection with the facial recognition algorithms.”

The Tri-City Americans have approximately 42 home games and the Toyota Center seats up to 7,200 people, meaning DHS spied on potentially 300,000 or more innocent American families.

The facial recognition algorithms will be supplied by vendors who currently have commercially available technology available. The DHS is currently in the data collection phase of the project.

“What we are doing right now is creating the video data that will be used to test everything and until we have that standardized and ready to go, I don’t think we’re going to call for manufacturers to start sending us their algorithms until we know how we are going to test,” said John Verrico, chief of media relations at the directorate.

An approximate date on when that call to vendors would be made was not available.

Wolfhope said one of the primary goals in the assessment is to see how many times a person in the video is successfully picked up by a facial recognition system versus false positives. She added that the minor league hockey arena is a good venue for video collection, because it mimics similar types of areas the DHS is interested in testing against.

Verrico noted that the venue “offers a place that has a higher volume of people,” and a high throughput of people moving through checkpoints such as where tickets are collected or where fans are buying concessions. “It enables us to use a crowd scenario,” he said.

Wolfhope specified that cameras are only being used on the concourse only and are not being used in the seating area. She also said that fans were given the option to opt out of those games where data collection was occurring, but no one thus far has. (in other words the entire arena)

The first video was collected at a game in September, and two or three more are expected. No other venues are expected to be used as part of this assessment, which from start to finish is expected to take about a year’s time. (DHS claims they’re spying on fans for 2 or 3 more games, can anyone say James Clapper who lied about spying on Americans)

According to Wolfhope, none of the video footage collected will be used against existing databases.

Only the profiles of the volunteers are being used to assess the strengths and weaknesses of various facial recognition algorithms. 

TSA/DHS is expanding its reach far beyond airport security:

The next time you have to take off your shoes and get searched by an employee of the Transportation Security Administration, it may not be at the airport.

Ron Nixon reports in The New York Times on the expansion of TSA’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response squads, or VIPR, which are leaving the airports behind to perform security checks at train stations, subway stops, and other transportation-related hubs.

Created in the wake of the 2004 Madrid train bombing, VIPR teams — comprised of explosives experts, behavioral detection officers, and canine handlers — work with local law enforcement to move through crowds and randomly stop passengers and ask questions.

Perhaps more surprising is their reach into places you wouldn’t really expect: Rodeos, music festivals, and sporting events. Their expansion has civil liberties groups pushing back on what they call warrantless searches with no probable cause. 

Writes Nixon:

“The problem with TSA stopping and searching people in public places outside the airport is that there are no real legal standards, or probable cause,” said Khaliah Barnes, administrative law counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington. “It’s something that is easily abused because the reason that they are conducting the stops is shrouded in secrecy.” 

TSA officials respond that the random searches are “special needs” or “administrative searches” that are exempt from probable cause because they further the government’s need to prevent terrorist attacks.

According to the TSA’s official website, “TSA routinely conducts thousands of VIPR operations each year in transportation systems nationwide” — nearly 4000 in 2010 according to CNN.

Officials told CNN that the searches are not mandatory — if your definition of “not mandatory” is not riding the train if you refuse a search at the train station. (that is total B/S if you refuse you’ll be deemed a suspicious person or worse, a potential terrorist)

“At the airport, everybody now understands it’s part of the process,” Rick Vetter told CNN. “You can either choose to deal with it or not. But in a surprise situation like that, I would not have been pleased.” http://www.businessinsider.com/tsa-vipr-teams-security-searches-2013-8


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