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Research Examines Global Security and Surveillance Technologies

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Surveillance cameras.

University of Colorado Denver professor Keith Guzik says government efforts to fight crime using advanced surveillance and information technologies often yield poor results.

Credit: Pawe? Zdziarski

Government efforts to fight crime using advanced surveillance and information technologies often yield poor results, says University of Colorado Denver professor Keith Guzik.

Guzik examined three federal programs in Mexico using documents, survey data, and interviews with government officials and citizens. He notes the cutting-edge information systems used by the Mexican government include a national cellphone registry devised to help authorities respond to kidnappings and extortion calls, a national identity card featuring biometric data to protect people from identity theft and fraud, and a national automobile registry with radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags to fight car thefts, kidnappings, and drug trafficking.

Guzik says people refuse to provide the government with their mobile numbers because they view registration as invasive. He also notes companies balk at the cost of storing caller data or applying RFID stickers to new vehicles, while the programs and technologies are sometimes inadequate.

"The failed experiment of the Mexican security programs demonstrates that state surveillance technologies yield neither the secure utopia nor the police state dystopia promised by their supporters and opponents," Guzik says. "The inherent uncertainty of technology-based state surveillance programs ensures that civic involvement in the work of crime control will remain critical to the shape of security governance in the future."

From CU Denver Today
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