Trend: Entrepreneurs are applying technology to make us safer in public places, at the sacrifice of some privacy and freedom.
Technology can help identify criminals and human predators, but it can be misused and inaccurate.
Link: Wired News:
A new security system for nightclubs uses facial recognition technology to identify troublemakers -- and share their faces with other clubs in a security network.
...at clubs and bars, troublemakers can cause major problems over time -- frightening off customers, and even forcing the place to close.
BioBouncer's camera snaps customers entering clubs and bars, and facial recognition software compares them with stored images of previously identified troublemakers. The technology alerts club security to image matches, while innocent images are automatically flushed at the end of each night. Various clubs can share databases through a virtual private network, so belligerent drunks might find themselves unwelcome in all their neighborhood bars.
Privacy watchdog groups, however, don't like the sound of it, and it's not clear club patrons will dig it, either. Many people are already accustomed, or oblivious, to cameras recording their every move at ATMs and 7-11s.
Lee Tien, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said people may find BioBouncer insulting or invasive. Facial recognition software is notoriously inaccurate, he said, and he is concerned that data-sharing could be used to blackball innocent partiers.
BioBouncer was born when a Toronto club owner asked if Dussich could help curb a burgeoning crime problem. Dussich may be on to something, as crime is plaguing the club scene nationwide, said Robert Smith, a police officer and nightclub security expert, who runs the Hospitality and Security Alliance.
"It used to be you settled your arguments with a push and a shove," Smith said. "Now it's … knives and bottles over the head."
Smith believes biometric tools like BioBouncer are vital to the club scene. Similar technology is being used in Amsterdam and Great Britain, he said. At least one U.S. company, Food Service Solutions, is peddling fingerprint recognition to alcohol retailers.
via Bruce Schneier