Imagine a public eye scanner that can identify 50 people per minute, in motion. Now imagine that the government install these scanner systems all across an entire city. Or don’t imagine it, because it’s already happening, right now.
The City of Leon, Mexico, is doing exactly that, installing real time iris scanners from biometrics R&D firm Global Rainmakers Inc. These scanners don’t require people to stop and put their eyes in front of a camera. They work in real time, as people walk, like this:
Which is very similar to this once-science-fiction scene:
There are different kinds of machines being installed across Leon, from large scanners—capable of identifying 50 people per minute in motion— to smaller ones—like the EyeSwipe in the video above—that range from 15 to 30 people per minute. These devices are being installed in public places, like train and bus stations, and connected to a database that will track people across the city.
City officials and proponents of the system are hoping that public retinal scans will stop crime and fraud. According to Jeff Carter, CDO of Global Rainmakers:
If you’ve been convicted of a crime, in essence, this will act as a digital scarlet letter. If you’re a known shoplifter, for example, you won’t be able to go into a store without being flagged. Certainly for others, boarding a plane will be impossible.
The retinal scanning of Leon’s one million population has started already with its convicted criminals. Citizens with no criminal records have been offered the opportunity to “voluntarily” scan their eyes. This, however, is just the beginning. According to Carter, everyone in the planet should be connected to the iris tracking system in 10 years:
In the future, whether it’s entering your home, opening your car, entering your workspace, getting a pharmacy prescription refilled, or having your medical records pulled up, everything will come off that unique key that is your iris. Every person, place, and thing on this planet will be connected within the next 10 years.
Other relevant Surveillance Society headlines:
- Flashback: In China, a High-Tech Plan to Track People
By KEITH BRADSHER / August 12, 2007
- Flashback: With the help of U.S. defense contractors, China is building the prototype for a high-tech police state. It is ready for export.
By NAOMI KLEIN / 2008