“Calling all cars. Calling all cars. Be on the lookout for a fat, silver and black guy with spikes wearing a silver and black helmet, silver and black jersey, Mardi Gras beads and Doc Martins. Last seen in section 105 heading east. He’s bad.”
The Oakland Coliseum or whatever the pit where the Raiders and A’s play is called isn’t a cafe so it’s probably off Rand Paul’s radar. That’s great news for Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern who wants to employ drones in his jurisdiction. It’s bombs away on cafes and homeless people.
If Ahern has his way, he’d also use facial recognition technology at Raiders home games to spot and track troublemakers as well as people just there to witness the many ways Darius Heyward-Bey can drop a football.
On October 25, Sheriff Ahern sent a letter to AEG Vice President Chris Wright, who is the facilities manager at the Coliseum and Arena, asking to test a product made by Intelligence Based Integrated Security Systems Inc., known as IBIS2. The patent-pending surveillance system from IBIS2 uses “intelligent video” technology that has civil libertarians on their guard.
… IBIS2 sought to conduct a field test in Oakland because of the bad-boy image of Raiders’ fans. “If you ask ten NFL fans which team they associate with violence, they’ll most likely say the Raiders,” said Kephart. He cited two shootings at a pre-season game between the Raiders and San Francisco 49ers as another reason for wanting to test his system in the Bay Area. It should be noted, however, that those shootings occurred at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.
… Ahern’s October 25 letter to AEG strongly indicated that the technology would be used for both license-plate and facial recognition. Ahern wrote that IBIS2′s product would be used “in or around sports venues,” including parking lots, and would provide law enforcement with the capability for “instant data retrieval resulting in preemptive action.” Ahern also wrote that the system could “be utilized to detect persons of interest, wanted criminals, parole and probation violators, state certified gang members, and repeat fan violence offenders.” Such detection capabilities likely could not be derived from reading license plates alone.
That’ll work real well in the Black Hole. It’s hard to see how IBIS2′s facial recognition technology would do any good inside the stadium. Ahern would be better off arresting whole sections of fans if his deputies want to deal the blow back. Unfortunately for them, the Black Hole doesn’t consist of defenseless, homeless people.
The idea that the Sheriff’s Department would use the system to preemptively track people for reasons outside of incidents in the area of the stadium should give pause to anyone concerned about privacy rights. Let’s not talk about cases of mistaken identity yet. There are matters of law enforcement misusing information gleaned for other purposes. The public has no idea how much or what kind of data would be stored let alone what it would be used for by Alameda County or any other local, state or federal agency with access to it. The possibilities for abuse outweigh any potential gains from arbitrary surveillance especially from a department already dealing with several abuse of power scandals.
Fortunately AEG refused to test the system on their property. Professional sports venues already have the ability to use video to find people who commit crimes within the confines of their property. There’s no reason to expand to the use of facial recognition technology by outside law enforcement. Teams can hand over video footage to police on an as-needed basis. Fans willingly accept that their image can be used by teams and respective leagues once they enter the stadium or arena. However the expectation of most law-abiding people is that any footage will be used solely for entertainment purposes unless an incident requiring law enforcement intervention takes place. They doesn’t attend a game thinking that their face will be stored in some unknown location for whatever use some random sheriff sees fit.
Maybe Raiders fans should consider themselves lucky. John Yoo would advocate drone bombing potential criminals during games. “I am the law!” On the other hand death would prevent them from seeing Carson Palmer throw another pick-6. Cowboys fans must be salivating over this possibility.
Here’s your musical reference. A pox on you if you didn’t get it.
Sheriff Ahern is a no good scavenger when it comes to the retention of personal data. A catfish vulture even. Say facial recognition and do the wop!