ANTHONY MORENO blog.trutv.com The Statue of Liberty may soon be sporting a sophisticated ethnicity-recognition security system… and what’s worse is that new software may be installed without most Americans knowing of it. (At least according to Slate.) Once a beacon for hope and freedom, Lady Liberty might soon become a symbol for state-sponsored oppression and surveillance. The national landmark has been retrofitted with facial recognition software before, but that technology was light years behind FaceVACS. Designed by a German firm, FaceVACS has proven to be cutting-edge technology, apparently able to estimate a person’s age, differentiate between genders, recognize targets on watch lists, and even ethnicity by way of skin color. (Though that last one doesn’t seem like an absolute science). As the statue is currently going through renovations, this would be a perfect time to install FaceVACS… But after Slate reporter Ryan Gallagher tried to learn more about the technology from Total Recall Corp. ?yes, that’s their real name? he was met with what he claims was intimidation and the threat of a lawsuit. Gallagher claims Total Recall Corp., the New York camera contractor who would be installing the new equipment and Cognitec, the German firm that designed FaceVACS, threatened to take legal action against him if he published anything about the technology. We contacted Total Recall Corp. for comment and are waiting to hear back. Representatives with the National Park Service did little to assuage fears that Lady Liberty will soon be a state-of-the-art spy facility. If true, the Statue of Liberty might be the first of the major American landmarks to be outfitted with Big Brother capabilities. Now that you know this, will you be making your next summer trip to America’s landmarks?
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