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Fugitive Child Sex Abuser Caught By Face-Recognition Technology

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the casting-wider-nets-through-technology dept.

Crime 232

mrspoonsi sends this BBC report: "A U.S. juggler facing child sex abuse charges, who jumped bail 14 years ago, has been arrested in Nepal after the use of facial-recognition technology. Street performer Neil Stammer traveled to Nepal eight years ago using a fake passport under the name Kevin Hodges. New facial-recognition software matched his passport picture with a wanted poster the FBI released in January. Mr Stammer, who had owned a magic shop in New Mexico, has now been returned to the U.S. state to face trial. The Diplomatic Security Service, which protects U.S. embassies and checks the validity of U.S. visas and passports, had been using FBI wanted posters to test the facial-recognition software, designed to uncover passport fraud. The FBI has been developing its own facial-recognition database as part of the bureau's Next Generation Identification program."

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It's tinfoil time! (5, Insightful)

mythosaz (572040) | about 2 months ago | (#47666895)

There's been a lot of 1984-esque technology stories of late, each of which has been tied to catching a child predator.

The tinfoil crowd sees this as how "the man" intends to deliver all of these intrusions to us -- by showing how they stop kid touchers.

Me? Meh. Neat that we're cross-referencing FBI wanted posters against passports. Seems a good use of the technology -- better than tagging people on Facebook automatically, I guess.

Re:It's tinfoil time! (2, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | about 2 months ago | (#47666997)

I would think such systems would automatically flag people in tinfoil protector beanies for closer scrutiny...

Re:It's tinfoil time! (4, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 2 months ago | (#47667379)

I know of several people who were dismissed as tinfoil hatters prior to the Snowden revelations.

just saying.

Facial recognition programs on 300 and umpteen million folks(Your Metrics May Vary), to rightfully monitor 10,000 with legitimate probable cause? I'd rather be free than that safe.

Re:It's tinfoil time! (3, Insightful)

mythosaz (572040) | about 2 months ago | (#47667569)

Police, I suppose should wander the streets with blindfolds on, only removing them if they get within 20 yards of an out-of-bounds ankle bracelet or a ringing alarm. :/

If you add "automation' to existing processes, freedom isn't necessarily lost.

Re:It's tinfoil time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667637)

If you add "automation' to existing processes, freedom isn't necessarily lost.

Sure thing Buttle ... or is that Tuttle ... oh well, kill em all and let God sort em out.

Re:It's tinfoil time! (5, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 months ago | (#47667051)

What we really need - but will never have - is some sort of independent civilian oversight group designed to make sure these sorts of programs operate within some specific narrow parameters - with effective enforcement power.

Looking for passport fraud? Go ahead and look through all the passport pictures... as long as you immediately discard every single one that doesn't match.

Looking for a stolen car? Go ahead and use that vehicle-mounted license plate scanner... But you can't store any of the non-matching plates for even a second.

Re:It's tinfoil time! (1)

redeIm (3779401) | about 2 months ago | (#47667109)

Looking for a stolen car?

Look for it yourself.

Re:It's tinfoil time! (2)

KhabaLox (1906148) | about 2 months ago | (#47667375)

Look for it yourself.

By this, I assume you mean have a human police officer use biological eyes to scan streets and parking lots for a stolen car or it's license plate number. This is a very expensive and inefficient way to solve the problem.

There are a lot of problems that are best solved by government entities. Like any business, the government should strive to solve these problems as efficiently as possible. The issue is that a lot of the process or technological improvements that we can put in place (like license plate scanners) reduce price so dramatically that the net can be cast much wider. Instead of looking just for cars that are involved in a kidnapping, we can look for cars that are involved in any crime. With this increased productivity comes the real risk of overreach on the part of government.

Your proposed solution seems to be to not allow government to have access to these cost saving improvements. That's impractical, as well as a bad decision from a financial perspective. Rather, we should, as GPP points out, have rigid oversight mechanisms, checks and balances if you will, to insure that government doesn't overstep it's bounds.

Re:It's tinfoil time! (2, Insightful)

redeIm (3779401) | about 2 months ago | (#47667409)

This is a very expensive and inefficient way to solve the problem.

Yes. That is the point. All of this automated surveillance has gotten out of control, and allows the government to oppress people more efficiently than ever before. That is not a good thing; sometimes the government should not be inexpensive or effective.

The oversight never does any good, will be subverted eventually, and doesn't solve the fundamental problem: The data on innocents should not be collected to begin with.

Re:It's tinfoil time! (4, Insightful)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 2 months ago | (#47667261)

What we really need - but will never have - is some sort of independent civilian oversight group designed to make sure these sorts of programs operate within some specific narrow parameters

That's what the Judicial Branch is supposed to do. We don't need an entirely new structure. We just need better execution from them.

Re:It's tinfoil time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667415)

Looking for passport fraud? Go ahead and look through all the passport pictures... as long as you immediately discard every single one that doesn't match.

The state department issues all passports. They aren't going to throw away the pictures. If you're worried about being in their database, try not getting a passport.

Re:It's tinfoil time! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667103)

The tinfoil crowd sees this as how "the man" intends to deliver all of these intrusions to us -- by showing how they stop kid touchers.

That's pretty much what it is.

Neat that we're cross-referencing FBI wanted posters against passports.

Yeah, it's neat how we're at a point where "Papers, please" has come to a country that's supposed to be 'the land of the free and the home of the brave.' Apologists like you just make things worse. All this surveillance should disgust anyone who cares about freedom.

Re:It's tinfoil time! (3)

mythosaz (572040) | about 2 months ago | (#47667119)

Cross-checking the FBI wanted list against passport photos (or driver's license photos for that matter) doesn't disgust me.

To each their own.

Re:It's tinfoil time! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667225)

In this day and age, you almost have to have a driver's license. How is it fair that they make you get one, and then they use privacy-violating facial recognition software on it? They shouldn't be allowed to use this information as they please. They should need a specific warrant to even look at it, and I don't think all these government organizations should be sharing information. Freedom and privacy are simply more important than safety.

doesn't disgust me.

Because you're anti-freedom. Enjoy the fruits of your labor, the very same fruits that have grown time and time again throughout history.

Re:It's tinfoil time! (2, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 months ago | (#47667277)

In this day and age, you almost have to have a driver's license. How is it fair that they make you get one, and then they use privacy-violating facial recognition software on it? They shouldn't be allowed to use this information as they please. They should need a specific warrant to even look at it, and I don't think all these government organizations should be sharing information. Freedom and privacy are simply more important than safety.

doesn't disgust me.

Because you're anti-freedom. Enjoy the fruits of your labor, the very same fruits that have grown time and time again throughout history.

Too bad it's an AC comment. I agree 100%.

Re:It's tinfoil time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667441)

This article is about passports. It very easy and common for US citizens to go their entire lives without having a passport.

Re:It's tinfoil time! (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 2 months ago | (#47667487)

With changes to the Canada and Mexico borders, it's getting a little harder...

Re:It's tinfoil time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667495)

How easy it is to avoid it is irrelevant. Violating innocent people's privacy merely because they could be criminals is a no-go.

Woman's world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667319)

Feminist police state.

Old testament allows men female children.
(One example: Deuteronomy 22 28-29, in hebrew)

Re:It's tinfoil time! (2)

crioca (1394491) | about 2 months ago | (#47667727)

I think using this technology in this context is a net negative as it's eventually going to be used against activists, whistle blowers and other individuals that are insufficiently patriotic, not to mention the potential for abuse and hacking.

Does that make me a tinfoil hat wearer?

"The FBI has been developing".. (2)

fred911 (83970) | about 2 months ago | (#47666901)

Definition: they've been using it for 5 years.

Where? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47666905)

If you can't hide in Nepal, where can you hide?

Re:Where? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47666931)

Your mother's basement... Just never go out and never let your picture be taken..

Re:Where? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667093)

Russia, they obviously don't extradite American Criminals or Snowden would already be home.

Re:Where? (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 2 months ago | (#47667131)

Apparently, you don't understand the term "political asylum".

Re:Where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667479)

Apparently, you don't understand the term "political asylum".

Snowden has NOT been given asylum in Russia, only temporary residency. He has applied for asylum, but it's not been granted. In Russia, political asylum is good for life, Snowden is only legally welcome in Russia until Aug 2017 as it stands right now. The practical effect of being given residency is the same as asylum, he cannot be apprehended, but this is only temporary.

This means he's a puppet of the Russian government and only stays because they allow it. If they granted asylum, the pressure would be off because he could legally stay forever. As it is, they can turn the thumb screws any time they wish and I expect it to stay that way, at least until they decide it's time to dump him back into American hands.

Re:Where? (5, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 2 months ago | (#47667687)

When an American citizen seeks political asylum in Russia,

well,

it's time to take a good look at ourselves.

Re:Where? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667331)

Maybe Russia will decide to be a man's country, or a biblical country.

The Old Testament allows men to have young girls as brides.
(Deuteronomy 22 28-29 in hebrew).

Countries that champion women, like America, are against such things.
A countervailing force would be nice.

Murica is now on an interstate manhunt for a man who beat his whore "girlfriend". Woman's country.
That wouldn't happen in Russia.

Re:Where? (0)

BancBoy (578080) | about 2 months ago | (#47667577)

Russia, they obviously don't extradite American Criminals or Snowden would already be home.

Forgive the troll feeding, if that's the case. Snowden was convicted of what?

Re:Where? (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 months ago | (#47667625)

Forgive the troll feeding, if that's the case. Snowden was convicted of what?

The same thing this guy who is being extradited from Nepal was. Nothing yet. He jumped bail, which can only happen prior to trial.

What I'm wondering about in this story, if the passport was FAKE, how did the FBI have a copy of the passport PHOTO that wasn't sent to the department of state to scan against the mug shot they did have? Was the passport REAL but under an assumed name, or was it really fake and not issued by the state department and they got the picture by magic?

Re:Where? (5, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about 2 months ago | (#47667807)

The idea of a police-state is that you cannot hide. Sure, for really bad crimes, it is fine for the state to throw a lot of resources at it, bit what they did here is cheap and can be applied universally. That the index case seems to be somebody carefully selected so that nobody has any sympathy is just a propaganda trick. I bet they had at the very least several hundred hits.

And if you think a police-state is not so bad, after all it just mercilessly enforces the rule of law, here is news for you: 1. "The law" and morality, ethics and what is right are two different things. For example, the killing of the Jews in the 3rd Reich was legal. 2. A police state is universally followed by totalitarianism, because at some point all opposition can be silenced legally.

What is this be 'magic shop'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47666907)

Friends and Greetings,

What is this be a 'magic shop'? It is a thing most unknown to your friend, Srinivas. We have magicians of the street in India but I know not of what be a 'magic shop'. How can it be that magic spells are on the vend in a shop of the market?

Friend of You All,
Srinivas

Re:What is this be 'magic shop'? (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 2 months ago | (#47667167)

No spells, I don't think. What we refer to as "magic" here in the US is simply sleight-of-hand. I've never visited a "magic shop", but I would expect to find top hats with secret compartments, costumes, literal smoke and mirrors, special decks of cards, loaded dice, the boxes and saws used to "saw people in half". There would probably be books detailing how to make these tricks work. Such books would emphasize the importance of distracting the audience' attention away from the trickery, toward something else, such as a beautiful, scantily clad young lady.

For spells, you would probably visit a book shop that specializes in occult writings.

Having been to one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667267)

They sell all the 'illusionist' toys, as parent describes, plus costumes, stage makeup, etc.

Basically they're a one stop shop for 'theatre' style magic, halloween costumes, etc. Maybe even ventriloquism dummies.

The items available vary by store, local interests, etc.

Hope that gives some idea of what they carry. It's really a sort of 'you have to see it' type store, but not a magic in the mystical sense type of place.

Expect a surge of computer recognition technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47666917)

The biggest limitation of analytics is the reliance on data already in the system with the appropriate metatags. The only solution is to let the computer import its own data.

Re:Expect a surge of computer recognition technolo (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 months ago | (#47666945)

I'm thinking plastic surgery, big sunglasses, floppy hats and long hair might be in high demand too.

Re:Expect a surge of computer recognition technolo (1)

plover (150551) | about 2 months ago | (#47667363)

Or makeup: http://cvdazzle.com/ [cvdazzle.com]

Re:Expect a surge of computer recognition technolo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667387)

Or push knives. Eventually men fight back.
See that gay guy in NY that was on "The hunt"

We Are All Under Suspicion Now (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47666923)

Scanning travel documents for hits in criminal (or other databases) is yet another case of data being re-purposed for uses other than the original intent. It is the same problem I have with things like Visa selling lists of what people pay for [wsj.com] using a Visa card, Verizon selling a list of what addresses I travel to and what websites I browse [latimes.com] and my pharmacy selling my prescription information. [nytimes.com]
 
Repurposing of data for unrelated uses is deeply corrosive to the trust that society needs to function. It keeps us all metaphorically looking over our shoulders, wondering in the back of our heads just how this information generated by going about our normal every-day lives might end up harming us. Even if one in a million times it helps catch a pedo, that still doesn't justify the damage it does to a free society.
 
There will always be crime, even in the most authoritarian of countries. But copious amounts of dignity and privacy are necessary for a healthy society - when you constantly have to second guess yourself it makes you less willing to be open and honest with others, makes you less willing to take risks, to be unconventional. Just compare the amount of creative development in the west to that of the USSR in the same time frame, or even North Korea now. Every time a database is repurposed, our society gets a little bit less robust.

Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (3, Insightful)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 months ago | (#47667029)

I don't think using facial recognition to verify the identity of someone using a US passport is re purposing data.

Even if one in a million times it helps catch a pedo, that still doesn't justify the damage it does to a free society.

How will these identity verifications damage a free society? The will definitely impact passport fraud.

Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667087)

> I don't think using facial recognition to verify the identity of someone using a US passport is re purposing data.

That is not what happened here. What happened here is that they searched the passport database for hits on a mugshot.
I am not a criminal, owning a passport should not be cause to consider me a potential criminal.
The only valid reason for a passport photo is to make sure that one person doesn't have two passports.

Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (2)

davidwr (791652) | about 2 months ago | (#47667203)

The only valid reason for a passport photo is to make sure that one person doesn't have two passports.

That, and to make sure the passport is really the person who claims it is his.

OK, I will grant you this: You can dispense with the photo altogether for "yes, this passport is mine" purposes if there is another practically-un-spoofable method for the purported passport holder to prove that it is his. A hash of DNA/fingerprint/iris/etc. will do. Possession of knowledge, such as a decryption key of encyphered text embedded in the passport that says "yes, it's really me" will be good enough for most purposes but it's not as good as a unique biometric identifier.

Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667247)

> That, and to make sure the passport is really the person who claims it is his.
> You can dispense with the photo altogether for "yes, this passport is mine" purposes if there is another practically-un-spoofable

For over a century we've had passports without such unspoofable methods and without significant problems. Just because the technology is now there to cross-check photos does not mean we must do it. Do not fall victim to the authoritarianism of technocracy.

BTW, when you get a passport you provide the photo. You can tweak it such that the facial recog algos fail but humans still recognize you. We are far away from an unspoofable system.

Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (1)

BancBoy (578080) | about 2 months ago | (#47667481)

> For over a century we've had passports without such unspoofable methods and without significant problems.

I'd call for a citation, but based on that incredibly broad statement and all the passport games that have been played over said century and change by spies, criminals, freedom fighters, terrorists, martyrs and evildoers...not to mention others, I think I'm just going to call shenanigans. Or BS, if you prefer.

Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667615)

> I'd call for a citation, but based on that incredibly broad statement
> I think I'm just going to call shenanigans

Ok, how about I ask you for a citation then?
What's the rate of problems for the US caused by people with fake american passports?

I'm confident it is well south of 1 in 100,000 - a number I'm completely comfortable with.
Prove me wrong.

Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 months ago | (#47667675)

Possession of knowledge, such as a decryption key of encyphered text embedded in the passport that says "yes, it's really me" will be good enough for most purposes but it's not as good as a unique biometric identifier.

Knowledge of a decryption key would be useless to prevent passport fraud. I could loan my passport to someone and tell him the key -- then he's me. He would have a lot harder time developing my same facial features to defeat a picture, especially if "he" is a "she" trying to impersonate me. The IMF could do perfect impersonations, but for normal folk not so much. "The password is..." could be used by anyone.

And you want to steal someone's identity? "Tell my your passport key or I'll kill you..." then kill them to stop them from reporting the passport stolen. It probably wouldn't even take that much, since most people would probably put their passport key on a post-it inside the back cover so they don't forget, just like they post their passwords within eyeshot of the computer.

Pictures are simple and easy to use, requiring no huge database or complicated equipment, unlike the DNA scanner you'd need for a DNA hash. Does the person standing in front of you look like the picture? Yes, ok. No, investigate. Even the border agents in Nepal can do that much.

Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 months ago | (#47667227)

One of the prerequisites of having a passport is not having an outstanding warrant.

I am not a criminal, owning a passport should not be cause to consider me a potential criminal.

Sorry but everyone on earth is a potential criminal. I don't care how many times my finger prints (they were taken for a background check) are compared because I have never committed a serious crime (I have a few speeding tickets).

The only valid reason for a passport photo is to make sure that one person doesn't have two passports.

It is also a valid use to match the person with the passport and therefore the name and other information on the passport. What is the difference between doing a text search on the name on a passport and doing a facial recognition search on a passport?

Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (4, Insightful)

redeIm (3779401) | about 2 months ago | (#47667269)

Sorry but everyone on earth is a potential criminal. I don't care how many times my finger prints (they were taken for a background check) are compared because I have never committed a serious crime (I have a few speeding tickets).

Agreed. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. History confirms this.

Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 months ago | (#47667467)

Conversely, if you have not been proven to be a criminal no one should suspect you. Reality is somewhere between those two extremes.

Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (1)

redeIm (3779401) | about 2 months ago | (#47667509)

Conversely, if you have not been proven to be a criminal no one should suspect you.

Agreed. I wish that were the case.

Woosh (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 months ago | (#47667673)

Considering how many criminals have not been caught yet I don't agree.

Re:Woosh (2)

redeIm (3779401) | about 2 months ago | (#47667705)

Fundamental freedoms are simply more important than safety. I would rather let many criminals get away than allow these privacy invasions to continue.

Re:Woosh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667765)

> Considering how many criminals have not been caught yet I don't agree.

Wow, you really are a hard authoritarian aren't you?
Since catching criminals is paramount, surely you would support regular home inspections in order to catch the thousands of people with outstanding warrants, right?

Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667369)

> Sorry but everyone on earth is a potential criminal.

Right there is your problem. You'll never see it because your mindset is inherently authoritarian.

> I don't care how many times my finger prints are compared

Trust in authority! [aljazeera.com]

> One of the prerequisites of having a passport is not having an outstanding warrant.

No, in some cases that can be the reason to deny issuing you a passport. But in and of itself it is not sufficient to cancel a passport.
And that means that it is reasonable to match your photo against a list of criminals when applying for the passport but that does not make it OK to search all passport holders to see if they might be a criminal.

Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667091)

How about the day free speech is permanently revoked and saying anything bad about our dear Leader is punishable by death. Now they have the tech to find and exterminate you with extreme ease.

Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 months ago | (#47667163)

If that ever happens there are much bigger problems than facial recognition.

Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (2)

redeIm (3779401) | about 2 months ago | (#47667233)

Abuses of facial recognition is a problem in and of itself.

Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 months ago | (#47667459)

What is or is not abuse is an opinion and therefore variable. Too many people seem to think that "use" is the same as "abuse".

Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667033)

when you constantly have to second guess yourself it makes you less willing to be open and honest with others, makes you less willing to take risks, to be unconventional

Constantly having to second guess yourself comes from jumping bail.
Most people don't give this kind of thing a second thought. We don't need to.

Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667115)

Which is another way of saying... Telling the truth is easier, you don't have to remember the lie.

Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667275)

> Most people don't give this kind of thing a second thought. We don't need to.

Right. Because if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (4, Interesting)

Algae_94 (2017070) | about 2 months ago | (#47667507)

The government already owns the database of passport photos. It's theirs. Every person who has a photo in there gave it to the government. In this case the FBI did a cross reference between 2 databases owned by the government. They did not force or coerce any private entity or individual to divulge private information to them. They weren't using any sort of real time or recent time surveillance. I don't see how you can make any rational suggestion to stop this situation short of abolishing passport photos and the subsequent database of them.

You may not like it. You may think this is another step on the slippery slope, but what specific part of this do you recommend be changed?

Should the government not be allowed to look at their own data? Do you think government agencies should not be able to share data? Do you think passports should not require photos? If you can come up with a way to stop this you can work on changing things. Otherwise, you're just whining about things.

Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667583)

> The government already owns the database of passport photos. It's theirs.

WOOOSH!

I mean FUCKING A WOOOSH!

We did not give them those photos for them to use for anything they feel like.
We gave them the photos for one specific purpose - to facilitate our ability to travel in other countries. That's it.

> what specific part of this do you recommend be changed?

Do not repurpose data just because it is convenient.

Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667613)

The government already owns the database of passport photos.

The government also forces you to get a passport if you want to do certain things to begin with, and then violates your privacy merely to see if you're a criminal when you decide to. That's not exactly fair.

It's theirs.

Paid for by tax dollars. Don't act like the government is some private entity.

Should the government not be allowed to look at their own data? Do you think government agencies should not be able to share data? Do you think passports should not require photos?

Putting such restrictions upon the government would be perfectly fine. I support all of those, by the way. They're kind of vague, but the point is there.

Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (1)

westlake (615356) | about 2 months ago | (#47667693)

Scanning travel documents for hits in criminal (or other databases) is yet another case of data being re-purposed for uses other than the original intent.

Your passport is proof of your identity, citizenship and right to travel outside your own borders. It has always been subject to verification through whatever means are available.

In its beginnings, a passport was a formal letter of introduction to your hosts and in the strongest possible language spoke of the legitimacy of your mission, your good faith and common sense. To be signed by someone highly placed and credible.

Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667749)

According to TFA, it was the Diplomatic Security Service, which is responsible for checking the validity of U.S. visas and passports, that perform the test.

And they tested their database against the FBI wanted posters of, I assume, wanted criminals.

In this particular case, it seems like the appropriate agency was doing their appropriate job using appropriate data.

This does not seem to be the usual story of government overreach.

This Juggler's Only Crime (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47666985)

Was for juggling balls before they dropped

Re:This Juggler's Only Crime (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667287)

Funny? What is the fuck wrong with you and the asshats that thought this was funny? I work with adults and children that have been sexually molested to attempt to keep them from needing inpatient psychiatric treatment and I can tell you that real and lasting damage comes from this kind of abuse.

Burn victim, yeah, real funny. Crush videos, hilarious! Childhood cancer, LOL.....fucking fucksticks.

Re:This Juggler's Only Crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667353)

Youre sexy when youre angry

Re:This Juggler's Only Crime (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667357)

"Burn victim, yeah, real funny. Crush videos, hilarious! Childhood cancer, LOL.....fucking fucksticks"

brought to you, by the loving god (of your choice)

Re:This Juggler's Only Crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667395)

sorry

Re:This Juggler's Only Crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667449)

God you're so mad. I love it.

Q: How many <take your pick> does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: THAT'S NOT FUNNY!!!

Re:This Juggler's Only Crime (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667531)

Don't be such a tight-ass. I suppose we shouldn't make any jokes about death, divorce, marriage, or any of the other things that happen in life because there are real people that really suffered from it.

Plot Twist (2)

PRMan (959735) | about 2 months ago | (#47666995)

Plot Twist: Kevin Hodges isn't the guy. He just looks like him. Oh well, he's going to prison for life for looking like a child predator. (Hopefully there are safeguards against this.)

Re:Plot Twist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667019)

Or being a close relative to a child predator.

Re:Plot Twist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667063)

Fortunately, Neil Stammer was fingerprinted when he was booked.

Re:Plot Twist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667083)

There are safe guards. It's a wonderful place called Guantanamo.

Re:Plot Twist (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667161)

> Oh well, he's going to prison for life for looking like a child predator.
> (Hopefully there are safeguards against this.)

In a free society you could be sure that was the case.
But I am not so sure anymore. [aljazeera.com]

"My evil twin did it" defense (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 2 months ago | (#47667231)

There was an episode of Law and Order or Criminal Intent or one of those shows where they found DNA evidence, but near the end of the show, right as they were about ready to make an arrest, they realized the suspect had an identical twin who they couldn't rule out.

Was he a HOMOSEXUAL paedophile, by any chance? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667205)

What are the chances of that happening?

About 30%.

Strange that, seeing as homosexuals are less than ONE PERCENT of the male population.

How do you explain it?

I can explain it. Homosexuals are many times more likely to be paedophiles than heterosexuals, otherwise only ONE PERCENT of the victims of paedophiles would be boys.

Re:Was he a HOMOSEXUAL paedophile, by any chance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667297)

It would be useful if you got your facts straight. Homosexuals are about 10% of the population; many just have not come out of the closet. And being homosexual does not increase your chances of being a pedophile. In fact, most pedophiles who prey upon boys are straight, and some of them are women.

Re:Was he a HOMOSEXUAL paedophile, by any chance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667573)

counting your chickens before they hatch there mr convenience

Re:Was he a HOMOSEXUAL paedophile, by any chance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667713)

counting your chickens before they hatch there mr convenience

This is a complete non sequitur

Re:Was he a HOMOSEXUAL paedophile, by any chance? (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 2 months ago | (#47667723)

In fact, most pedophiles who prey upon boys are straight...

Mack and John were eating lunch at the truck stop when a man John didn't know strolled by the table and said to Mack, "Hey Cocksucker."

"What's that about, bud?" John asked his friend.

"I've been a truck driver for thirty years and no one ever referred to me as Mack the trucker. But you suck ONE dick!"

Re:Was he a HOMOSEXUAL paedophile, by any chance? (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 2 months ago | (#47667789)

Simplistic and your numbers are badly off.

Another one they need to catch (1)

reemul (1554) | about 2 months ago | (#47667303)

Now if we can just catch fugitive child rapist Roman Polanski, who was convicted of his heinous crimes but fled the country before sentencing.

Re:Another one they need to catch (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 2 months ago | (#47667599)

If he wanders into a country other than France, we just might...

Re:Another one they need to catch (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 2 months ago | (#47667733)

I remember that.

I'll bet you don't get carded much these days either.

Frustrated (2)

The Raven (30575) | about 2 months ago | (#47667317)

What frustrates and upsets me is that before Snowden, I would have looked at this as a fluff piece about technology, with some mild nagging doubts about how it could be misused.

Now I see them as NSA whitewashing propaganda, with mild nagging doubts that maybe the original poster had no agenda and it really is a tech fluff article.

Re:Frustrated (1)

redeIm (3779401) | about 2 months ago | (#47667337)

What frustrates and upsets me is that before Snowden, I would have looked at this as a fluff piece about technology, with some mild nagging doubts about how it could be misused.

So I guess you just ignored the countless abuses of government power throughout history before Snowden leaked those documents?

Re:Frustrated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667421)

We are not all born omniscient. Don't shit on someone for figuring out the world.
If you want to bitch, bitch at the people who still haven't figured it out.

Re:Frustrated (1)

redeIm (3779401) | about 2 months ago | (#47667469)

We are not all born omniscient.

Omniscience is unnecessary. Even a short history lesson will reveal countless government abuses.

Re:Frustrated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667663)

No, before Snowden we were OK with our government abusing a bunch of foreigners. Snowden forced us to realize that our government was abusing us.

checks the validity of U.S. visas and passports (1)

citizenr (871508) | about 2 months ago | (#47667343)

Are they saying US has no central database of all valid passports and the only way to uncover fake one is comparing some photos?

Re:checks the validity of U.S. visas and passports (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667493)

Of course not, otherwise we would discover all the cover passports of the employess of three letter agencies.

Re:checks the validity of U.S. visas and passports (1)

jopsen (885607) | about 2 months ago | (#47667611)

Of course not, otherwise we would discover all the cover passports of the employess of three letter agencies.

Also foreign agencies would be able to index all american citizen... For once, it seems like your government is doing something to protect your privacy.

Re:checks the validity of U.S. visas and passports (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667497)

There is probably a legitimate US Passport with the name "Kevin Hodges". The picture listed in the official database, does not match the picture found using facial recognition software, therefore they found someone using a fake passport.

Oh the Children! What about the Elderly?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667407)

So some bloke meets a girl for a date not sure if she's under age or not. His reward: the stigma of being a child predator and an ankle bracelet.

Some repair man preys on mentally ill elderly folks and harrasses them until they pay him exhorbitant rates. His reward: praise for being a good business man.

The ethics of this world are fucked up!

Psycho-Pass (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47667603)

Are we on the path to a world were even our state of mind [wikipedia.org] will be on trial?

Whenever it's advertized like this, then it is bad (3, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about 2 months ago | (#47667783)

If they trot out the child abusers (usually carefully selected so that nobody has any sympathy), what is actually announced is really bad for individual freedoms. Expect this to be used against you on a traffic ticket in 5-10 years or to identify people participating in lawful demonstrations. That is a sure way to a police-state and that one is universally followed by totalitarianism some time later.

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