Just when you thought the spooks had won with their uber-surveillance, along comes Covid-19 and masks.
A leaked US Department of Homeland Security document reveals that the agency has expressed concern that the widespread adoption of face masks will impede facial recognition surveillance technology, Salon says.
The document, which was released by Anonymous in their “BlueLeaks” hack of law enforcement agencies and first publicized by The Intercept, purportedly comes from the Counterterrorism Mission Center.
Under the heading “Violent Adversaries Likely to Use Protective Masks to Evade Face Recognition Systems,” the agency’s bulletin warns that “violent extremists and other criminals who have historically maintained an interest in avoiding face recognition are likely to opportunistically seize upon public safety measures recommending the wearing of face masks
to hinder the effectiveness of face recognition systems in public spaces by security partners.”
The agency acknowledges that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges people to wear masks for their safety.
The bulletin-writer goes on to admit that they “have no specific information that violent extremists or other criminals in the United States are using protective face coverings to conduct attacks” but speculates that such a threat is possible because “some of these entities have previously expressed interest in avoiding face recognition and promulgated simple instructions to conceal one’s identity.”