March 8, 2019 in News by RBN Staff





In what can only be described as revolting, makers of facial and Iris recognition cameras are setting up an exhibit booth at a Film & Music Festival in America’s heartland.

Three days ago, the NEC Corporation announced that they will be “participating” in one of the world’s largest events dedicated to the interactive, film and music industries, the “South By Southwest Conference” (SXSW) in Austin, Texas from March 10-13.

Why would a facial recognition company set up shop at the SXSW which “celebrates the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries”?



Call it passive propaganda or outright brainwashing or call it whatever you want but one thing is certain.

It takes a lot of Chuztpah for a company that makes a living out of identifying everyone to try and convince the public that “we are having fun together and having a communal experience.” (See the video above.)

SXSW also claims that “several areas located throughout the Trade Show feature content aimed to promote discovery, education, and inspiration.”

So how does NEC fit into that picture?

If NEC or SXSW claims that spying on everyone is inspirational, I will eat my hat.

NEC’s so-called “CODE” art exhibit will take pictures of visitors Irises and display the biological data they use to identify them with.

And how will they convince visitors to let NEC store their information in their database?

By claiming that every ‘picture, Iris and biological piece of data they store about a person is beautiful’, you cannot make this s*** up.

“From March 10-13, NEC will host an innovative exhibit, “CODE,” that converts the unique biometric information obtained from the iris of a person’s eye into graphic patterns. The expression of these patterns is different for each person, and represents the individuality and diversity that people naturally possess, as well as the beauty of these differences and the potential of biological information.”

So if you do not mind letting NEC create a ‘beautiful’ biological database of you then by all means head over to booth 923 and say hello to Big Brother for me.


As machine-learning algorithms, big data methods and artificial intelligence are increasingly used in the toolkit of U.S. law enforcement agencies, many are worrying that the existing biases of the criminal justice system are simply being automated – and deepened.

The Metropolitan Police spent over £200,000 on facial recognition trials that yielded zero results, prompting questions about wasting public money (and violating the public’s privacy) to no benefit, it has been revealed. According to the results of a Freedom of Information request by the Independent, police trials carried out between August 2016 and July 2018 saw 110 people’s faces registered as potential ‘alerts,’ which resulted in six police deployments in which only two people were stopped – and then released.

It’s official, big brother has invaded sports arenas, stadiums and parks.

Surveillance using CCTV cameras is old hat these days, even for locations outside the world’s CCTV capital, London. But there’s an important step-change taking place in the sector, as operators move from simply observing and recording, to analyzing video feeds automatically using facial recognition software. Techdirt has written about this area a few times, but these examples have all been fairly small-scale and exploratory. News from Georgia — the one in the Caucasus, not the State — shows that things are moving fast in this field

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) otherwise known as the Dept. of Commerce plans to evaluate facial biometrics for the government. Beginning next month, the NIST will begin evaluating facial recognition technology algorithms. The NIST calls it the ‘Face Recognition Vendor Test’ (FRVT).