Shortly after the Boston Marathon bombing, the Boston Police Department teamed up with IBM to develop facial recognition technology in an attempt to stop possible terror events in the future.
With that in mind, Boston hosted a music festival in both May and September 2013 called The Boston Calling Music Festival.
Concertgoers were expecting they would be there only to watch a show. But little did they know that the Boston PD was using advanced spy technology to watch them.
According to the Daily Caller:
Using 10 cameras capable of intelligent video analysis, police and IBM captured thousands of faces and scanned individuals for details including skin color, height and clothing to screen for possible forensic identification. The tech also watched traffic and crowd congestion, searched for suspicious objects and monitored social media in real-time.
The facial recognition technology they were using was reportedly meant to analyze every single attendee’s face, whether he or she wanted to be analyzed or not.
Worse yet? The information that was gleaned from the test was not secured in any way.
Apparently, much of the sensitive material detailing the program and compiled after the pictures were taken was found online… an entire year after the recordings took place.
Other data stored online by Boston police in unsecured servers include drivers’ licenses, addresses, parking permit information, and more — so it’s safe to say police weren’t all that concerned about privacy or safety.
The Daily Caller reported that:
Boston PD initially denied any involvement in the programs’ deployment on May 25-26 and Sept. 7-8 at City Hall Plaza, stating in an email from a representative that “BPD was not part of this initiative.”
‘We do not and have not used or possess this type of technology,’ the department wrote to Dig.
Files on the program uncovered online include photographic evidence showing Boston PD present inside IBM’s program monitoring stations and receiving instruction on how to use the tech. When presented with this evidence, Boston officials admitted the city’s direct involvement.
“The city of Boston engaged in a pilot program with IBM, testing situational awareness software for two events hosted on City Hall Plaza: Boston Calling in May 2013, and Boston Calling in September 2013,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh press secretary Kate Norton wrote in an email to the publication.
“The purpose of the pilot was to evaluate software that could make it easier for the city to host large, public events, looking at challenges such as permitting, basic services, crowd and traffic management, public safety, and citizen engagement through social media and other channels. These were technology demonstrations utilizing pre-existing hardware (cameras) and data storage systems.”
So the Boston PD carried out an egregious violation of privacy. They lied about their involvement, then “confessed” when confronted with the evidence.
Citizens should expect better behavior from their police. Then again, we’re talking about the Boston police, the same “peace officers” who kicked down the doors of innocent people as they searched for the Boston bombing suspects.
Clearly, respecting privacy rights and honoring the law of the land aren’t their highest priorities — if they are priorities at all.
The truth is, violations of privacy carried out by the “authorities” are going to continue whether we like it or not.
How does it feel to know you’re being watched right now? Click here to learn what you can do to protect your privacy.