Massachusetts contemplating biometrics to curb welfare fraud

Bill proposes Mass. study implementation of fingerprinting, biometrics to reduce welfare fraud (MassLive)

Under the provision, the Department of Transitional Assistance and the Office of Health and Human Services would be required to study the feasibility of using biometrics – which includes fingerprints – to reduce fraud in public benefit programs.

The language, part of a $15.4 million amendment assembled by the House Committee on Ways and Means, cleared the House on a 158-0 vote Tuesday afternoon.

New York City actually implemented a system like this a few years back. It worked, too. Mayor Bloomberg liked it. Governor Cuomo didn’t. Survey data at the time indicated that a majority (53%) of Americans favored such an approach.

See:
New York City: Fingerprints for Auditing Food Stamps (October, 2011)
Governor Proposes to Prevent New York City From Using Biometrics To Stem Welfare Fraud (May, 2012)

That’s like, so 2001

MAY, 2013
Boston PD Tested Facial Recognition Software By Recording Every Face At Local Music Festivals (Daily Caller)

Concertgoers at last year’s annual Boston Calling music festivals weren’t just there to watch the show — they were watched themselves as test subjects for Boston police’ new facial recognition technology, which reportedly analyzed every attendee at the May and September two-day events.

Employees at IBM — the outside contractor involved in deploying the tech alongside Boston Police — planned the test of its Smart Surveillance System and Intelligent Video Analytics to execute “face capture” on “every person” at the concerts in 2013.

FEBRUARY, 2001
Welcome to the Snooper Bowl (Time)

In a move that has been both hailed and decried, the Tampa Bay police department used the occasion of Super Bowl XXXV to conduct a high-tech surveillance experiment on its unsuspecting guests. In total secrecy (but with the full cooperation of the National Football League), the faces of each of the games’ 72,000 attendees were scanned and checked against a database of potential troublemakers. The news, first reported in the St. Petersburg Times, raises some urgent questions: is this the end of crime–or the end of privacy?

The surveillance system, FaceTrac, is based on technology originally developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to teach computers to recognize their users, and was installed by a Pennsylvania firm called Graphco Technologies.

The technology and key personnel from Graphco were acquired by SecurLinx in 2003.

Massachusetts & Secure Communities

Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson welcomed the news that the program will go into effect statewide May 15 (South Coast Today)

Here’s the AP’s take:
Controversial immigration program goes ahead despite Gov. Patrick’s objections

The program appears to be popular with elected law enforcement officials (county sheriffs) but less so among other elected leaders (the governor and some city councils).

 

Click here for DHS ICE coverage PDF.

The comprehensive PFD at the ICE site has detail for each state. The only participating county in Massachusetts led to the detection of roughly the same number of re-arrested criminal aliens as in entire state of Missouri.

See post below for a national perspective on Secure Communities.

Translate »