The Concord Monitor’s article about 50 businesses and 50 solutions on automated kiosks, is really an article praising a corporation for exploiting people’s fears during a pandemic.

“When the pandemic hit, the team at Advanced Kiosks realized that they had more opportunity for growth than ever before. With social distancing quickly becoming the norm, all sorts of businesses that had previously resisted automation were looking for innovative ways to deliver services without person-to-person interactions.”

Advanced Kiosk’s growth is tied to giving the public an illusion of safety.

“We’ve been seeing people realize that they want to provide goods and services, but need to do it in a way that’s safe for patrons and staff,” said Jeff LeBlanc, director of user experience for Advanced Kiosks.

It’s not just for private businesses. Government agencies also want to install “Guardian Kiosks” in town halls and DMVs across the country.

“Entities ranging from government branches like town halls and DMVs to ski resorts began reaching out to Advanced Kiosks to see what solutions were available to keep them and their customers safe.”

As the article mentions, the Guardian Kiosk measures body temperature using thermal imaging. Since this can be done from 3 to 5 feet away, it’s a safe way to screen people without having to break social-distancing requirements.

But there is more to this story than government agencies and businesses using thermal imaging kiosks and enforcing social distancing.

Advanced Kiosks website reveals that Guardian Kiosks do more than just identify whether or not a person is wearing a mask and observing social distancing.

“Facial recognition, built on state of the art artificial intelligence methods, can optionally be used to see if a person is known to the kiosk.” 

This is a perfect example of how facial recognition/thermal imaging machines give the illusion of public safety. If a device can identify a person using facial recognition and remember who they are, then everyone’s privacy is at risk.

A standard feature of Guardian Kiosks is that they come with a “facial recognition library of 30,000 faces; with optional stranger detection.”

The Hall Memorial Library in Northfield, NH, where LaBlanc’s wife works, is using Guardian Kiosks to identify and screen patrons.

A Guardian Kiosk brochure boasts that its “facial recognition feature can be used for added security. It can even tie in to existing access controls.”

Advanced Kiosks made it easy for government agencies and businesses to access the cloud. In other words, Guardian Kiosks will have access to any number of facial recognition databases.

Below is a list of where Advanced Kiosks wants to put Guardian Kiosks:

  • Schools and Academies
  • Government and Military Locations
  • Department Stores and Malls
  • Restaurants and Movie Theaters
  • Libraries and Public Spaces
  • Hospitals and Doctor’s Offices
  • Transportation Services

When the public sees businesses using Guardian Kiosks, they will no doubt think that libraries, schools, hospitals, department stores, restaurants and movie theaters care about their safety because they’re checking everyone’s temperatures.

But that feeling of safety is quickly exposed as just another way to identify and track the public through facial recognition.

Advanced Kiosks “Don’t Touch! Touchless Interactions in the Post-COVID World” webinar exposes how they use facial recognition to identify unique faces.

The webinar is basically an in-house sales pitch on how to convince customers to purchase their facial recognition/thermal imaging kiosks.

According to the video, Advanced Kiosk plans to use Guardian Kiosks at hospitals that will identify a patient or visitor and give them directions. It could also be used to automatically call elevators for them. (approximately 46.00)

If you take one thing away from this story I hope it is this, don’t trade your privacy and identity for a false hope of safety.

This article was originally published at MassPrivateI


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