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Smile! We’re Taking Your Mug Shot

Eric Arthur Blair
The Portland Pataphysical Outpatient Clinic
July 5, 2001 07:11PM

TAMPA (YU) – A pilot program in this fanatical football city hopes to pave the way for more efficient crime fighting throughout the United States, where it is estimated that nearly 70 percent of the population is not yet behind bars. 

Using state of the art digital cameras and a battery of donated PCs, the community police here have begun randomly scanning crowds, taking retinal imprints, and face-printing as many as 300 citizens per hour. The results are matched against the Interpol database of mug shots of people with outstanding arrest warrants for reasons ranging from possession of a controlled substance to failure to appear in traffic court. 

U.S. government offices, supermarkets, banks, parking lots, and pay toilet facilities have been using face-printing technology for more than a decade, but this is the first time an entire city has undertaken a permanent installation of surveillance cameras in all public places. 

Signs are posted in prominent locations informing people that anything they do or say may be recorded and used against them in a court of law. Most people approached on the street and asked about the new system were unaware of its existence but generally in favor of any effort by their elected officials to reduce crime.
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