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Security vs. Privacy

Technology that can identity individuals surreptitiously as they walk down the street or through an airport concourse naturally raises questions. For example, is the way a culprit is caught as important as the apprehension itself? In a nation made nervous by terrorism, must individual privacy be sacrificed? And, perhaps most important, who is watching and what they are doing with what they see?

Denis Berube understands these deep-seated concerns and points out that Viisage's products respond to them. "The Viisage facial recognition technology can only match a bad guy's face because it automatically and instantly throws away any non-matching picture," he says. "There is no ethnic bias, no nationality bias, no racial or gender bias. The system looks only for people who are known threats to society; everybody else gets ignored.

"The system is positioned in public places where no one expects to receive privacy, or in workplaces, for example, where innocents go ignored by the system and only those who don't belong gain notice. These are, at bottom, peace-of-mind and quality-of-life issues. We're working with Congress to make sure this tool stays in good hands. We can't stand by as those who are determined to break or evade the norms of a civilized society scheme to convert our strengths of openness into a devastating weakness. We can make a difference."

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