Saturday, November 24, 2012

Biometric Gunshot Surveillance Net Will I.D. Shooters in Real-Time Across America

Brandon Turbeville
November 23, 2012
image source
With the recent announcement regarding San Diego police who are now using facial recognition technology to build and maintain a massive biometric database of their citizens, as well as the nationwide roll-out of department store dummies equipped with cameras and microphones used to recognize, record, and monitor shoppers, it appears that the biometric databasing of the American people has now been turned to overdrive.

However, treasonous law enforcement and Big Brother department store dummies are not the only methods by which the American people are being surveilled by recently introduced technology.

Now, programs have been developed that are able to detect gun shots from miles away in conjunction with high-resolution cameras and facial recognition software that allows for not only the location of the shots but the direct biometric identification of the shooter.

Essentially, the new programs being prepared for implementation all over the country (and the world), are designed to detect gun shots from a remote location via acoustic sensors. When the gunshots are detected and located through a quick process of triangulation, a high-resolution camera is then used to photograph the shooter’s face, which is then processed through a biometric database to determine the person’s identity. If the shooter is not yet enrolled in the police state database, the new technology can actually create a new record using the photograph.
In an excellent report entitled, “FaceFirst’s biometric software can use a database of photos to identify you in public,” which details the emerging facial recognition technologies, MassPrivateI, states, “The companies say this is the world’s first such detector to instantly ID a shooter, and aim to make it available to law enforcement agencies and private physical security firms.”

This new technology is a product of the partnership between at least two firms of the military-industrial complex that have been altered and retrofitted to appear as private industry for the domestic sector. These two firms – Safety Dynamics and Airborne Biometrics Group (ABG) – are thinly veiled creatures of the stampeding DARPA-style surveillance state and shadow government infrastructure now firmly in place the world over.

The heart of the program centers around the combination of Safety Dynamics’ already operational gunshot detection software and ABG’s FaceFirst facial recognition software.

As Homeland Security Newswire writes,
Individuals who fire weapons with criminal intent will now have to think twice now that Safety Dynamics Inc. and FaceFirst have decided to join forces.
Working together, Safety Dynamics will combine its gunshot detection technology with FaceFirst’s facial recognition capabilities to automatically identify a shooter’s face in real-time.

Whenever Safety Dynamics’ acoustic ballistic sensors detect a shot it will automatically zero in on the exact location and direct a high-resolution camera to zoom in and capture the shooter’s face. At that point FaceFirst’s software will run the shooter’s face against a biometric database to determine their identity or create a new facial record if they are unknown.
For those who might be wondering about the source of the images contained in the “biometric database” that is referred to in the quote above, the answer is quite simple – everywhere. Although it is well-known that the US government is attempting to establish (and probably already has established) a Total Information Awareness Network of surveillance on each and every American citizen, the fact is that this work has been largely done for them.

This is because, in addition to programs like NGI, US-VISIT, IDENT, and S-COMM, photo identification requirements, airports, city streets, shopping centers, and other public sources of surveillance, voluntary facial photographs like those posted on dating sites, Facebook, and personal websites also make up a great deal of the images in the new biometric database to be accessed by the new software tag team.

As writes,
The technology necessary to perform facial recognition is cheaper and easier than every before, according to Facing Facts: Best Practices for Common Uses of Facial Recognition Technologies, a best practices guide released by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that explores the possibilities that facial recognition technology can bring. According to the guide, a 2011 Carnegie Mellon study showed that researchers identified individuals ‘in previously unidentified photos from a dating site by using facial recognition technology to match them to their Facebook profile photos.’
Facial recognition technology is indeed becoming much more affordable as are the technological capabilities to record, monitor, and store the digital, audio, and video data for literally every single American citizen as a report from the Brookings Institution entitled, “Recording Everything: Digital Storage as an Enabler of Authoritarian Governments,” has suggested.

It should be noted, of course, that the FaceFirst software is especially designed to work in tandem with government “lists.” This much is stated clearly on the FaceFirst website which states,
As individuals enter your facility, FaceFirst’s high-speed face-tracking camera and proprietary software instantly detect and identify all known terrorists, felons and con artists on a customized database of local, state and federal agency lists. You can also add your company’s internal databases of trespassers, fired employees and other persons of interest — plus similar watch lists of other participating companies.

Alerts are instantly sent as e-mail, SMS or MMS messaging) to the devices you specify — cell phones or PDAs or computers — so that your security staff can deny access to and/or detain the individual. You can also configure alerts to be automatically e-mailed to law enforcement authorities and/or key government officials.

FaceFirst improves your security team’s efficiency by sharpening their focus on prior offenders — before they attempt to present bogus credentials harass staff or instigate an attack.
Yet, the gunshot detection/facial recognition program is not something completely novel to the police state of America. Indeed, all across the country similar programs are being introduced and, in some locations, these types of technologies have already been in use for some time.

Safety Dynamics has already been involved with many of just these types of programs.

For instance, the SENTRI Gunshot Detection program, developed by Safety Dynamics, is actually used by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. The Safety Dynamics website describes how the program works by stating, “If a shooter discharges a weapon inside the building, the SENTRI system will lock down all security doors to the bank, trapping the shooter inside. This SENTRI application demonstrates the significant value of gunshot detection for the purpose of asset protection for federal facilities—both indoors and outdoors.” Admittedly, not a bad idea for high-security situations. That is, of course, unless you are unfortunate to be locked inside with the shooter.

However, other applications for SENTRI are much more questionable in nature and much more conducive to outright police state mechanisms. Indeed, these programs have been rolled out onto city streets all over the country such as Baltimore, Baton Rouge, Tuscon, and Los Angeles.

Again, one need only reference the website of Safety Dynamics to discover the basic justification and method of operation for the SENTRI Gunshot Detection programs. It states,
State of the art technology that could play a huge role someday in fighting crime is in Tucson, AZ. It's called instant gunfire recognition--and this essentially is how it works: A shot is fired in a metropolitan area, within one second of the shooter pulling the trigger, microphones pick it up, a camera zooms in and authorities instantly have some idea who and what they're dealing with.

'So in most cases, the shooter hasn't even begun to drop their arm yet and we're already looking at the scene,' said Wayne Lundeberg, Chief Operating Officer of Safety Dynamics: a Tucson-based company with gunshot detection technology in the US and Mexico.
In relation to the program’s use in Baltimore:
City police hope they will one day have an easier time solving shootings with the help of new technology. The latest police tool to catch criminals is being tested on top of some blue light cameras. It's gunshot detection. "The way the technology is designed is that the sensor would actually redirect the camera in the direction in which the shot sound came from," said Cheryl Goldstein with the Baltimore mayor's office. Each sensor is supposed to be able to hear a gunshot within 600 feet. That's about the distance from a blue light camera to one or two city blocks. For now there are two sensors installed in East Baltimore. The city is working with the vendor, Safety Dynamics, to make sure the system is worth the investment before buying anything. Johns Hopkins used a different vendor last year. "What the city is looking for is a gunshot technology that can identify a gunshot, and will not alert when there's other noise." said Goldstein. So far the city says the two sensors are showing promise.
Baton Rouge:
The new gunshot detection units will allow Baton Rouge police to transport the crime prevention functions of SENTRI to areas of immediate need and special community events. Crime rates at Safety Dynamics installations typically fall 14% with the presence of the new technology and a 35% drop in shootings and calls to 911 are realized within weeks. The Baton Rouge Police like the idea of moving SENTRI to various locations in the city that are seeing high rates of crime and for local community events to increase public safety through the SENTRI's unmatched detection and localization of gunshots in less than one second.
Los Angeles:
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton and other police officials gathered at a news conference to announce the completion of work to install Safety Dynamics' SENTRI gunshot detection for urban crime prevention in the city of Compton. SENTRI units consisting of a camera and four microphones were scattered all over town a month ago, officials said. 'As soon as it hears shots fired, boom, the cameras turn,' said sheriff's Lt. Scott Edson. The SENTRI unit is able to detect shots fired from within a quarter-mile radius and can even distinguish the type of rounds fired, said sheriff's Lt. David Telley. The unit employs neural networks, so it can listen for the temporal pattern of a gunshot and ignore similar sounds, like a bus backfire. The Sheriff's Department had tried similar technology, but Edson said the older equipment does not have cameras, only listening devices. 'It's going to be like another eye for us, which will help us apprehend any suspects,' Deputy Tony Bowie said of the new technology.
Similarly, another program related to gunshot detection that has gained much more attention in recent years is the Shotspotter technology. Shotspotter is yet another program designed to recognize gunshots and transmit the information recorded to law enforcement agencies. Shotspotter is not unique to major cities; however, as even smaller areas such as Rocky Mount, North Carolina are using the product. Obviously, it goes without saying that the technology comes at great cost to the average taxpayer.

Of course, the programs mentioned above are not combined with facial recognition software. However, one of Safety Dynamics’ programs can be seen as a precursor to the partnership with ABG both in the sense that it was itself a partnership with another surveillance company as well as the fact that it also involved the combination of gunshot detection with surveillance cameras.

This program is the partnership between Safety Dynamics and ELSAG North America, who manufactures high-resolution cameras with an impressive reading capacity for the photographs taken. ELSAG’s cameras were combined with Safety Dynamics SENTRI gunshot recognition program and the combo is now being marketed to law enforcement agencies all across the country.

None of the programs mentioned previously, however, are quite as advanced as the partnership between Safety Dynamics and ABG, the focus of this article. As previously stated, this program combines gunshot detection technology with both high-resolution cameras and facial recognition software to produce a surveillance net that is, at least currently, unparalleled in the United States. Unparalleled, at least, when compared to programs that have been officially admitted to being currently operational.

Of course, one should not be surprised that the companies developing, manufacturing, and marketing the technology of control such as ABG, Safety Dynamics, and ELSAG North America are selling their country and their fellow citizens down the river. While money itself always provides enough of a motive for the majority of people to abandon what little sense of morality and freedom they have, the fact is that these companies are not basic free-market startup initiatives. In reality, they are as much a part of the military-industrial complex as DARPA and the US military itself.

The only difference between corporations such as these and the Homeland Security/Shadow Government/Surveillance State establishment is that these companies masquerade under the cover of private enterprise. While they may be private ventures on paper, they are attached at the hip to the defense industry itself.

For instance, Airborne Biometrics Group (ABG) is actually a spin-off corporation of Airborne Technologies, Inc. (ATI), a firm founded in 1980 as “a defense contractor supplying aircraft structural parts to the U. S. government and other countries flying U.S.-manufactured aircraft.” In 2003, ATI became a partner with Lockheed Martin, another giant of the military-industrial complex, solidifying its place as the first manufacturing licensee for Lockheed.

Likewise, Safety Dynamics is also a player in the military industrial complex game. Safety Dynamics is not just involved with the development of technologies such as gunshot detection programs but also with projects involving the US Navy, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, and the University of Southern California Neuroscience program.

Interestingly enough, Theodore W. Berger, co-founder of Safety Dynamics is also a biomedical engineering professor at USC as part of the Center for Neural Engineering and the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC. Berger was also the recipient of the Lockheed Senior Research Award and was co-editor of Toward Replacement Parts for the Brain: Implantable Electronics as the Next Era in Neural Prosthetics published in 2001.

Berger was also involved in an experiment conducted conjointly between USC and Wake Forest University in which a brain implant was tested on rats with findings that revealed the implants could actually restore lost memories.

Lastly, ELSAG North America is actually a subsidiary of Finmeccanica, an Italy-based company which is nonetheless a part of the military-industrial complex surveillance state defense contractor world. Finmeccanica describes itself as
one of the world’s leading high-tech companies, operating in the design and manufacture of helicopters, defense electronics, civil and military aircraft, aerostructures, satellites, space infrastructures, and missiles. It plays a leading role in the European aerospace and defense industry and participates in some of the biggest international programs in the sector through well-established alliances with European and American partners.

Clearly, the United States and the rest of the world is moving toward the point of no return in regards to the surveillance state that is no longer creeping but rushing forward with lightning speed. While gunshot detector technology represents a disastrous encroachment upon the right to privacy and the fourth amendment, it is also an unfortunate reality that this technology is just one of many.

The entire world is fast reaching a point of do or die (literally) where the people who inhabit it will have to make some hard choices soon or they will be forever unable to do so.

Read other articles by Brandon Turbeville here.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor's Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of three books, Codex Alimentarius -- The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, and Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident. Turbeville has published over 175 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville's podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at)

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