You’d think that Millennials would be used to having their entire lives tracked, having grown up in an age of utter Internet, especially since they like to document pretty much their entire lives, from the small to the big, and with tons of selfies, on-line. But, give her credit where credit is due
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she checked to see if pigs could fly after she found a rare moment of common ground with House Republicans on Wednesday over the protection of Americans from surveillance.
During a House Oversight Committee hearing, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle expressed the need for legislation to regulate the increasingly widespread use of facial recognition software to track members of the public.
“Check the sky for flying ðŸ½ bc Rep. Meadows, much of the Freedom Caucus & I are in agreement on preventing total surveillance of Americans without their knowledge,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter following the hearing. “Whether it’s Amazon or Gov, no one should be tracked w/o consent or a warrant,” she wrote.
Both law enforcement agencies and private companies have been using the technology to identify people’s faces in public and private settings. Amazon’s “Rekognition” software has been aggressively marketed to law enforcement groups, including the FBI and the Orlando Police Department, BuzzFeed News reported.
U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., chairman of the Freedom Caucus, described facial recognition as a “sweet spot that brings progressives and conservatives together.”
“When you have a diverse group on this committee, as diverse as you might see on the polar ends, I’m here to tell you, we’re serious about this and let’s get together and work on legislation and it is the time is now, before it gets out of control,” Meadows said at the hearing.
Privacy is an issue that I read about a bit, but do no post on. Personally, I think I am rather blase over it. If Amazon wants to know what music I listen to, I do not care. If Google is tracking me through their mapping program, well, it’s kinda creepy, but, what are they going to do with it? Same with online stuff, because I pay zero attention to the generated ads. It’s when all this data is used for government tracking that it breaks down, and, when we get to facial recognition, that is a step way too far
“When government surveillance attacks civil liberties, Congress must step in and defend Americans,” U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a co-founder of the Freedom Caucus, wrote on Twitter. He included a video of himself questioning Neema Singh Guliani, a senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, at the hearing.
“We’ve never seen anything like this technology before,” Guliani said during her testimony on Wednesday. “The U.S. reportedly has over 50 million surveillance cameras. This, combined with face recognition threatens, to create a near-constant surveillance state.”
Some will offer the argument of “yeah, but they could catch bad people.” Certainly. But, it’s the loss of freedom, of personal privacy, where the government is surveilling us and tracking our movements. Further, the software allows anyone to use it and recognize people out on the streets.
When you unlock your iPhone with your face, where does that data go? We’ve gotten immune to all the modern day track. Perhaps it’s time we tuned back in, and perhaps AOC and the Freedom Caucus can make something good happen.
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