New York, NY
May 24th, 2002
Taking product placement to a new level, the Visionics Corporation donated their digital facial recognition system to the New York Parks commission to scan the faces of each and every visitor to the Statue of Liberty over the Memorial Day weekend. The images of the faces of visitors were compared to a database of terrorists compiled by the federal government. (This is TRUE)
The Visionics system was deployed, according to the ACLU, even though "it is easily misled by people wearing glasses or hats," and often produces false positives. A representative from Visionics, a company that's benefitted tremendously from the War on Terror, responded to the criticism by stating that "Terrorists don't wear hats. They wear Turbans."
Visionics is one of a handful of surveillance and war-related companies whose stock shot up nearly %400(*) after the attacks of September 11th (See the chart below).
Visionics is hoping that the trial run over Memorial Day weekend will lead to a permanent contract at the Statue of Liberty, effectively turning Lady Liberty into Sister Surveillance.