Biometric Scanning

U.S. Prisons Are Covertly Gathering Inmates’ Biometric Voice Data

U.S. Prisons Are Covertly Gathering Inmates’ Biometric Voice Data

Mass biometric surveillance is a new reality at U.S. prisons.

Futurism.com . January 31,2019

Automated Panopticons

The Intercept published a shocking account Wednesday about how U.S. prisons are building biometric databases of inmates’ voices, in some cases without their consent.

Hundreds of thousands of incarcerated people have had their voice prints digitized, according to the report, for the sake of prison security and surveillance — a grim example of how surveillance technologies can enable authorities to create automated panopticons.

Voice Surveillance

Inmates were asked to repeat seemingly random phrases into a phone, according to The Intercept, sometimes under the threat that otherwise their phone privileges would be revoked.

“It said, ‘Say this phrase, blah, blah, blah,’ and if you didn’t say it clearly, they would say, ‘Say this phrase again,’ like ‘cat’ or ‘I’m a citizen of the United States of America,’” an inmate at New York’s Sing Sing prison told The Intercept.

Documents obtained by The Intercept tell a shocking story: prison authorities were storing inmates’ unique ‘voice prints’ in biometric databases in order to create a voice surveillance system, with the goal of monitoring prisoners’ calls. The system even stores voice signatures of call recipients outside the prison.

Breach Of Civil Liberties

Authorities say the surveillance could help prevent fraud — inmates using each other’s identification numbers to make calls for instance — and beef up prison security.

But civil rights advocates are raising flags about the new system: it violates inmates’ rights, they say, especially when data is being collected against their consent.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s