New York’s transit plans include facial recognition tech in bridges and tunnels

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo held a press conference earlier this week aimed at building a bridge (and tunnel) to the mid-21st century. The governor’s ambitious and controversial plan highlighted a series of initiatives designed to reduce highway congestion and cut down on emissions.

The initiatives also include tunnel barriers designed to protect against floods, and bridge fortification in case of earthquake. LED lighting is also on the list for bridges to cut down on energy consumption, while providing a nice light show. Here’s an example set to the music of Jay Z. Perhaps these big lights will inspire you:

Naturally, the outline also includes a number of anti-terrorism regulations, including the implementation of cameras and sensors at “structurally sensitive points” around bridges and tunnels. The so-called New York Crossings Project includes advanced image recognition technologies capable of reading license plates and identifying faces.

After being rolled out to those locations, the technologies may also be applied to airports and other transit hubs.

The civil liberties blowback was predictably swift. A day after the announcement, the New York Civil Liberties Union went dystopian on Governor Cuomo, comparing the plan to Minority Report. Here’s NYCLU staff attorney Mariko Hirose invoking Philip K. Dick:

Governor Cuomo’s plan has the potential to put thousands and thousands of people’s images and data in a massive database that could be used by the government for who knows what. There is also an enormous risk that innocent people will be misidentified as terrorists, especially people of color who are more likely to be inaccurately identified by the technology. We are taking one step closer to the dystopian world of Minority Report without any discussion of the serious privacy concerns that are implicated.

via The Verge