Once again, the government is experimenting on the public with new surveillance technology and not bothering to inform them until forced to do so. Boston's police department apparentlyperformed a dry run of its facial recognition software on attendees of a local music festival.
Nobody at either day of last year's debut Boston Calling partied with much expectation of privacy. With an army of media photographers, selfie takers, and videographers recording every angle of the massive concert on Government Center, it was inherently clear that music fans were in the middle of a massive photo opp.
What Boston Calling attendees (and promoters, for that matter) didn't know, however, was that they were all unwitting test subjects for a sophisticated new event monitoring platform. Namely, the city's software and equipment gave authorities a live and detailed birdseye view of concertgoers, pedestrians, and vehicles in the vicinity of City Hall on May 25 and 26 of 2013 (as well as during the two days of a subsequent Boston Calling in September). We're not talking about old school black and white surveillance cameras. More like technology that analyzes every passerby for height, clothing, and skin color.While no one expects their public activities to carry an expectation of privacy, there's something a bit disturbing about being scanned and fed into a database maintained by a private contractor and accessible by an unknown number of entities.