Never mind your mindless whining about privacy on the web. Never mind that you are already being tracked by your banks and credit card companies in ways that would make web advertisers blush. All the ways we currently think we are being tracked have just become moot.
I say this because thanks to biometrics R&D company Global Rainmakers Inc (GRI), in partnership with one of the largest cities in Mexico, Leon, the scariest future we could imagine is coming. Not tomorrow but once their pilot project rolls out in Leon it will spread like the worst weed you could ever imagine.
As reported today in a Fast Company post by Austin Carr our Minority Report future is right around the corner thanks to one of the biggest roll-outs out of iris scanning technology we have seen to date.
Announced today, biometrics R&D firm Global Rainmakers Inc. (GRI) is rolling out its iris scanning technology to create “the most secure city in the world,” according to the company. In a partnership with Leon, one of the largest cities in Mexico with a population of more than 1 million, GRI will fill the city with eye-scanners that will help law enforcement–and soon marketers–revolutionize the way we live.
“In the future, whether it’s entering your home, opening your car, entering your workspace, getting a pharmacy prescription refilled, or having your medical records pulled up, everything will come off that unique key that is your iris,” says Jeff Carter, CDO of Global Rainmakers, who, before coming to GRI, headed a think tank partnership between Bank of America, Harvard, and MIT. “Every person, place, and thing on this planet will be connected within the next 10 years.”
And according to Carr these are no slight claims to be ignored as he found out when he had a chance to go one on one with the system where he found out the systems level of accuracy is unnerving exact even when running.
The sickening part of all of this is the sales pitch being used to sell systems like this to cities and companies. Citing things like convenience because then people don’t need to carry silly things like bank cards, transit cards or even ID cards GRI panders to the hearing the pitch. They even go so far as to brag that fraud, a $50 billion problem, will be eradicated – completely.
But where this gets really scary is when they suggest that because this is an opt-in method of control but an opt-in that is obviously driven by manipulation of the public by making it a defacto way of providing identification – even when it isn’t needed. The problem is that at this point those who choose to opt-out are automatically flagged – which GRI has no problem acknowledging
GRI hopes that the immediate value the system creates will alleviate any concern. “There’s a lot of convenience to this–you’ll have nothing to carry except your eyes,” says Carter, citing how of-age consumers will no longer be carded at bars and liquor stores. “And it’s interesting: When you get masses of people opting-in, opting out does not help. Opting out actually puts more of a flag on you than just being part of the system. We believe everyone will opt-in.”
It’s easy to suggest that this would never fly in our countries especially the US but as a colleague said when I passed him the link to the Fast Company post “It’s a god save for those people complaining about illegal immigrants“. What better sales pitch to governments in the US than to tie in illegal immigration and say .. oh .. child predators. Instant sell.
Sure you could opt-out but besides the fact that doing so would raise even more attention there is the pressure of group dynamics that would drive this thing forward. After all if lets say New York City implemented this on their transit system and gradually phased out the cards and cash, after all the budget savings alone would be an enormous incentive, how would you get around the city?
Of course all these scenarios wouldn’t happen over night but you can be assured that if business and governments have the incentive to save money, decrease crime and increase security you can be certain that the most dystopian future is totally possible.
And it all starts in a city called Leon – mark that in your history books as a turning point in our society, and not a good one.
images courtesy of Fast Company