We’re Banning Facial Recognition. We’re Missing the Point. (NYTimes)

In all cases, modern mass surveillance has three broad components: identification, correlation and discrimination.

A ban on facial recognition won’t make any difference if, in response, surveillance systems switch to identifying people by smartphone MAC addresses.

Today, facial recognition technologies are receiving the brunt of the tech backlash, but focusing on them misses the point. We need to have a serious conversation about all the technologies of identification, correlation and discrimination, and decide how much we as a society want to be spied on by governments and corporations — and what sorts of influence we want them to have over our lives.

“identification, correlation and discrimination”

I think expectations of privacy need to clarified @sahuguet.

When I immigrated to this country, I pretty much made a trade off, I gave away my personally identifiable information to gain residence in this country. That it was done by a nation-state and not a burger joint is what is different today and disconcerting.

The marginal cost of “identifying, correlating, and discriminating” has approached near 0 and that reality needs to be understood with

By just typing writing this response, I risk being classified and discriminated by some non-descript web-scraper. Do I censor myself?

I agree that vilifying technology is pointless, vilifying the application of it is probably the right direction - and so the same way the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs regulates weighing scales, the same department should probably regulate data collected by a video camera in a burger joint.

How do we get there? Should DCA be equipped with basic data infrastructure to inspect privately owned video cameras and what they do with the data they collect? How would they go about that?

My off-the-cuff suggestion would be to “certify” video cameras in the public realm, the data they capture and enforce inspections.


The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) tests the accuracy of all weighing and measuring devices (i.e., scales) used by retail and service establishments such as supermarkets, bodegas, jewelry stores, and laundries. Businesses must schedule an appointment to have their scales inspected before using them.

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