Seattle Police Prepare DHS-Funded Facial Recognition Program

Mikael Thalen
February 20th, 2014
Updated 02/21/2014 at 4:01 am

The Seattle Police Department is preparing to purchase a new facial recognition software program with a federal grant from the Department of Homeland Security.

Set to be purchased next month, the software will reportedly be used to scan and compare surveillance video to the city’s mugshot database.

With the city facing mounting opposition for several other privacy issues, police were quick to claim that the software would only be used when surveillance video of a suspected crime was obtained.

“An officer has to reasonably believe that a person has been involved in a crime or committed a crime,” Seattle Police Asst. Chief Carmen Best said.

Despite reassurances from the city and police, surveillance-weary residents pointed to the city’s continued abuses with surveillance technology.

“I think the Seattle Police Department have a well earned reputation for distrust by the public,” privacy advocate Phil Mocek said during a city council meeting Wednesday.

One group in particular, the Seattle Privacy Coalition, compared the city’s actions to the federal government’s never-ending domestic surveillance rollout.

“You got kind of a small-scale Seattle version of the dragnet surveillance that’s happening nationally that’s been in the news the last year,” said David Robinson of the Seattle Privacy Coalition.

When asked if the federal government would be given access to information collected, Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell argued that the city would need to share its data to protect the country from potential terrorists.

“There may be times where the federal government may want to look at that database,” Harrell said. “That may be very appropriate if we have international terrorists here that might have committed a misdemeanor.”

While promising to focus the new software on suspected criminals only, papers released by WikiLeaks in 2012 revealed Seattle’s secret participation in TrapWire, a sophisticated facial recognition program run through the city’s CCTV cameras. Given that the Seattle government willingly scanned the faces of countless innocent residents without their knowledge, few trust the new pledge to suddenly use the technology in a lawful manner.

Although the city claims it will release regular reports regarding data requests made by outside agencies, several recent reports already show that the city is sharing innocent individuals’ data with Homeland Security.

Exclusive documents released by Storyleak and Infowars last November revealed that Seattle’s Homeland Security-funded mesh network, which siphons unsuspecting cell phone users data while traveling through the downtown area, is directly tied into the city’s DHS-run Fusion Center.

Documents also revealed how the city’s vast collection of surveillance cameras are tied directly into the mesh network, which can be viewed and controlled remotely from inside police vehicles. Despite Assistant Police Chief Paul McDonagh claiming last year that no video footage collected could be kept for more than 30-days, a specification spreadsheet revealed the city’s early proposal request for “at least 60-day archival recording capacity.”

The mesh network is directly linked into 30 Port of Seattle surveillance cameras as well, reportedly installed to protect the area from acts of terrorism. Unsurprisingly, residents quickly noted that multiple cameras were facing inward toward Seattle homes, an “accident” later fixed by city officials.

Although the mesh network was deactivated following public outcry, the system is set to be turned back on as the city continues to push all possible surveillance technologies on the public.

Last year, Seattle police announced that several precincts would begin implementing predictive policing software, a program that combines advanced mathematical algorithms with crime data to predict where crimes will occur down to a 500-square-foot area. While the program has thus far remained under the radar, police deny claims by civil liberties advocates that the program will be used directly on individuals.

Although the city has successfully implemented several surveillance programs, residents have stopped several as well. Seattle police were forced to return two drones, purchased with an $82,000 federal grant, after civil liberties activists voiced harsh opposition to the program last year.

Despite the government’s continued claim of needing vast surveillance capabilities to protect the public from terrorism, which kills less people annually than bee stings, fewer and fewer Americans are supporting the notion, especially in light of the government’s public support of Al Qaeda jihadists in Syria.

As Homeland Security continues to flood countless states with tax-payer money for increased surveillance technology, the agency itself is not immune to public pressure either. Wednesday evening, the agency announced the cancellation of its plan to build a national license plate tracking database following a Drudge Report featured exposé by Infowars.

Share Button

Tags: , ,

Category: Constitution, Privacy, US

Mikael Thalen

About the Author ()

Mikael is the lead features writer at His articles have been featured on sites such as the Drudge Report, Infowars and Natural News. During his time at, he was frequently ranked the number one political writer.

Comments (76)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Roger says:

    The troll patrol is pulling comments again.

  2. Roger says:

    Did the troll patrol pull all the comments again?

  3. WeeToddEdwards says:

    The police state grows

  4. TheNewsMadd says:

    Wonder what the police state will come up with next?

    Time for a complete overhaul

  5. Despite the government’s continued claim of needing vast surveillance capabilities to protect the public from terrorism, which kills less people annually than bee stings, fewer and fewer Americans are supporting the notion, especially in light of the government’s public support of Al Qaeda jihadists in Syria

  6. It’s difficult to find knowledgeable people on this subject,
    but you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  7. The best way to make money online is right here and it is without cost. I really like the content on your internet site. I found out a couple of new points too. Many thanks for your great and keep it up. I will absolutely be back again.

  8. Recovery Courses Online Do you intend to learn recovery in your very own time. Look into our Healing Courses Online that tiy can discover in your very own time.

  9. Thanks for the wonderful topic of the subject he is very wish more fascinating topics

  10. thanks you for this nice topic

  11. Thanks for your nice posting. Hope you will post more informative article like this.

  12. 5 minute mogul review
    5 Minute Mogul Review $1,000+ Commissions in 4 Days. The 5 minute mogul is an online board game like monopoly. When people land on your space, you’ll have the ability to earn money. You can generate multiple sources of income depending on your level. One of the source of income is from Pure leverage since you need an autoresponder to build your list.
    If you like this video please subscribe to our channel.

  13. One of the biggest content for me as well. I am very happy by reading this content which is very vital for me as well. Thanks a lot for telling this site, I must come to you to know more details about this….

  14. extra income says:

    Interesting. I will try to integrate some of these ideas into my own way of getting some results so far. Thanks a lot for your inputs and insights. Usefull…

  15. Steven Parker says:

    Amazing job my dear friend !
    Hotmail Password Hack

  16. Sahil Diwan says:

    I got here rewarding information. Thanks for sharing this great info here.

  17. How to mislead Cosmetic as well as other types of acknowledgement software program in addition to safety measures devices by means of finding out one's destiny techniques in the CIA. The particular CIA as well as other secret agent agencies all over the world will work desparetely to help overcome your devices that they can made it easier for create to prevent a lot more nameless superstars around the wall structure this coming year.

  18. Consumers conserve money on Electric and Gas costs. Consulatants start making money by assisting friends, household and brand-new calls to save cash each month on their electricity bills,. Generate income, Home based business, Power Price Cost savings

  19. Find out easily where the markets are going a day before it get there, it is like seeing into the future. Highly accurate market forecasts on thousands of markets with above 83% accuracy. Finally you can have an edge, excellent tool to assist in making those tough trading report .

  20. Always like the opportunity to read this type of stuff!

  21. Nonetheless, fascinating post and I would check back once more soon and get myself more updated.

  22. Great job my dear friend !

  23. Peor Mants says:

    The best post which I've read in last time !

  24. Anonymous says:

    What an amazing post !

  25. Peor Mants says:

    Wowwww, I can't belive on my eyes what I am seeing…Great !

  26. Very good job man, sorry for my bad english, but if you have time, came to my blog also .

  27. TimesnWatch says:

    Thanks a lot for your article. A lot of guys and gals who are struggling to lose excessive weight, including me will definitely benefit from this.

  28. thanks, but I have not quite figured out your recommendations. I will try.
    оформление канала на youtube 2014 оформление канала на youtube 2014

  29. Afiat says:

    Great post, thanks for posting..

  30. Zee says:

    Wow, good job..

  31. Cleaning says:

    Very cool this program is really wonderful and very important it is a very good step by the government

  32. Washing says:

    I have benefited greatly from this thread

  33. Thank you very much for your efforts and the wonderful efforts benefited greatly

  34. Wow! what a brilliant post. thanks for sharing. Submit your content (Article) for free at

  35. This is a wonderful! Thanks for sharing this post…

  36. You have some really good ideas in this article. I am glad I read this. I agree with much of what you stated in this article. Your information is thought-provoking and interesting.

  37. Bio says:

    Great work done for sharing…

  38. Photoshop says:

    Nice posting, thanks for sharing such a great articles…

  39. Great post, thanks for posting..

  40. Asha says:

    Thanks for nice information's.

  41. google says:

    I must thank you for this informative read. I hope you will post again soon.

  42. Thanks for this share n site and pz try it..

  43. job says:

    very nice post brother, hopefully it's news can be received by many people.

  44. This is pretty cool. I guess they are getting a lot of their facial recognition data from facebook! Beware!

  45. Very cool this program is really wonderful and very important it is a very good step by the government

  46. very nice post brother, hopefully it's news can be received by many people.

  47. Mr.Lincoln says:

    I have been aware for a very long time now, and have found the boiling frog method works best in the education process of revealing facts and the truths. It takes patience to do what I do! Thanks' for reviewing and commenting!

  48. Mr.Lincoln says:

    The states are headed this way! Article V: The Real Deal Pt. III FEBRUARY 19, 2014 COS Project Team Want to know what America could look like with a limited federal government

  49. Mr.Lincoln says:

    Just staying in the know with what is happening worldwide, and nationwide. Doing nothing is 'NOT' an option! That is over!

  50. Roger says:

    They add layer after layer of tyranny and no one seems to say ‘enough’ or know where to draw the line.

  51. Alinsky Hero USA says:

    They patrol trolls, good job!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *