The Pandora’s Box That is Facial Recognition

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryIn China, the Chinese government uses what is known as facial recognition technology to track every single individual in the country. Since computers can store tens of millions of giga-bites of data on a single disc (or in a computer memory circuit), it is absolutely no problem to store any and all information about every single citizen there. In the case of the Chinese government, the sole purpose of this is to have mass surveillance of its own people in order to control them. As we now know, no one in China has any constitutional rights, no one has legal protections, no one can escape the might and will of the state, and only the Communist Party of China controls anything and everything. In China, no one is safe from arbitrary arrest, imprisonment, and even execution.

Facial recognition is simply a weapon used by the Chinese government to control its people and to threaten other nations and their people. So far, here in the United States, there are serious constitutional limits over how facial recognition is used, and such technology is used for very limited purposes. These limitations may include for crime purposes, for high security jobs, and for keeping certain areas (such as certain security areas on military bases, federal and state governments) normally off-limits to the public. So far, there are many people in this country who are horrified about the prospect of facial recognition being used against them, and are scared if there will ever be a government effort to arbitrarily use this technology?

Let me bring in the possibility of an emergency. Currently in South Korea, the government there is now using facial recognition to track people with corona virus. Here is the problem; if someone is sick with a “certain type of ailment,” then they lose their constitutional rights and have to be tracked until they are cured. So, according to the South Korean government, this measure is “temporary.” Is it? Take the State of Illinois during this pandemic. We were all told that face masks, six-feet spacing, lock-downs and restrictions were only “temporary.” We were told that in two weeks, six weeks or a few months we could “defeat” the corona virus. Almost two years later these measures are still there, and now it seems many people are accepting all these things in an effort to defeat the virus. If these arbitrary measures are now justified, is facial recognition far behind? In an emergency measure, people may accept facial recognition over the loss of their constitutional. If this happens, what else will people sacrifice for protection and security? Will the U.S. Constitution have any more meaning? If we give so much power to the government to control our lives, will we ever be able as a people to take back that power we had given to the government? These are question we should as a people be asking at all times to protect what constitutional rights we have.

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