Secret Service Trials Facial Recognition Cameras At The White House

Many would speculate that the White House would undoubtedly have some biometric facial recognition system in place. However, that is not the case in 2018. Odd right?...

The US Secret Service (USSS) this month just launched the Facial Recognition Pilot (FRP) using the existing Crown Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) “in order to biometrically confirm the identity of volunteer USSS employees in public spaces around the complex,” and, “to test USSS’s ability to verify the identities of a test population of volunteer USSS employees."

This is according to the November 26 Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) published by the Office of Technical Development & Mission Support USSS, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The PIA indicates that volunteer USSS agents started the pilot test on November 19, images of the agents were added to the facial recognition system's database, and the video collected by the CCTV system will be reviewed for target acquisition. According to the PIA report, images that match the faces of the agents will be saved in the system for research purposes. Images that do not trigger a hit will be automatically deleted. All image libraries will be purged from the system when the pilot concludes on August 30, 2019.

The PIA further explains the pilot test would not be monitoring agents in real time. Hits generated on the system will be reviewed on a weekly basis by researchers. 

There is no opt-out for agents who frequent two locations around the White House, with one area including part of the sidewalk and street. "However, individuals who do not wish to be captured by White House Complex CCTV and cameras involved in this pilot may choose to avoid the area," the PIA states.

The latest trend with the government has been the rapid adoption of facial recognition systems.

As of recent, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is testing facial recognition as part of its biometric entry and exit screening program to monitor international travelers.

Officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have been in talks with Amazon about the Rekognition software, an intelligent facial recognition platform, to monitor immigrants.

There have even been reports of law enforcement agencies across the country who are embracing Rekognition to track people in their communities.

The Orwellian trend is evident: the government is embracing facial recognition systems to monitor highly secured places (like the White House) and as a massive surveillance system to track its citizens.