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Big Brother Surveillance Begins: Cuomo Unveils Facial Scanning At New York Toll Plazas

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo revealed on Friday that facial recognition cameras installed at bridge and tunnel toll plazas across New York City are scanning every driver’s face and feeding them into a massive database designed to catch suspected criminals.

“When it reads that license plate, it reads it for scofflaws . . . [but] the toll is almost the least significant contribution that this electronic equipment can actually perform,” Cuomo said at a press conference outside the Queens Midtown Tunnel.

We are now moving to facial-recognition technology, which takes it to a whole new level, where it can see the face of the person in the car and run that technology against databases… Because many times a person will turn their head when they see a security camera, so they are now experimenting with technology that just identifies a person by their ear, believe it or not,” he continued.

The technology is currently in use at the RFK/Triborough Bridge, and was switched on at the Queens Midtown and Brooklyn-Battery tunnels on Friday, according to the Governor’s office.

It will also eventually come to at least two of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s six other spans — the Throgs Neck and Whitestone bridges — and down the road will be added at all area airports, Cuomo’s office confirmed.

A request for proposals from contractors previously published by the online news outlet Vocativ says the tech is slated for all seven of the city’s toll bridges in addition to the two tunnels. –NY Post

The Governor’s office wouldn’t say when forthcoming cameras will be activated, which databases will be used to compare photos, or who will have access to the data, however Cuomo said that license plates which are already scanned at the plazas are currently checked “for warrants, suspected felons, parole violators, terrorist suspects.”

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