We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Some of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

A new low in drug testing

by Melissa Friday, Jan. 23, 2004 at 5:55 PM

The government is apparently planning to install face-scanning cameras and urinalysis machines in some public urinals. It sounds strange, but it's technically feasible. We need to spread the word about this so it doesn't become widespread.

I got the following message from a former co-worker. It sounded strange until I looked into it. There are several small portable and cheap urinalysis machines available. This isn't rocket science, but it is scary.

[begin email]

"I'm taking a lot of risk in sending you this, but I think it's extremely important to get the word out. We just finished a feasibility study for DHS. They wanted us to design a system to fight terrorism and drug abuse, and it's got me creeped out.

The problem was to develop a way to surreptitiously test as many people as possible for drug use. I know you're going to laugh, but, what they wanted us to design was a urinal (stop it!) that would also perform drug testing. You might think this is a joke, but it actually makes a bit of sense in a creepy way. The urinal would not only check its "users" for drug use, but would store that information in a database along with the user's picture and maybe even their DNA. Sounds weird I know, but the technology already exists to do this (and more).

We quickly rejected a brute force "sample bank." A public restroom might have a thousand or more "uses" per day and, even though the amount of urine that would need to be stored is low, that was considered too burdensome. What we suggested uses a smaller storage system. These urinals would be dry, so the "sample" wouldn't be diluted with water. After the user is finished, a quick urinalysis is performed. If we find an indication of a problem, that sample is stored away together with a few pictures of the user. Every few days the samples can be retrieved and sent to a lab for further analysis. The samples are stored away using a pretty neat technique that's low tech but also quite dependable.

Each installation could be plugged into a building's network, even WiFi. That way the pictures of the user could be analyzed and facial recognition could be performed in real time. Low-cost urinalysis units can do 50 or more tests per hour.

People are already used to the sensors on toilets and urinals that flush them automatically, so adding a small camera next to that isn't going to be a problem...

Of course, the price we figured for each installation is a bit high. But, it's not out of line for certain places, like federal buildings, prisons, or even high schools in some areas. Much of this could be implemented with COTS parts, and the price should go down quite a bit over time. And, we didn't look into DNA analysis that much, but that wouldn't be that difficult given a small enough number of samples.

There isn't an awful lot to worry about *now*. AFAIK, our study was the first on this system, and not even a test site could be in place before the end of the year. But, after that, I'd start worrying about this, especially in certain locations...

Just an FYI, but also something we need to let as many people as possible know about so they can stop this in its tracks."

[end email]
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 11 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
another worrying development along privacy lines Hex anon w/ encryption Friday, Jan. 23, 2004 at 7:36 PM
A question Frontinus Friday, Jan. 23, 2004 at 8:07 PM
checkpoint - a triple use word Hex anon w/ encryption Friday, Jan. 23, 2004 at 9:30 PM
checkpoint Hex anon w/ encryption Friday, Jan. 23, 2004 at 9:41 PM
fresca fresca Friday, Jan. 23, 2004 at 10:27 PM
Jerrys back ! Hex anon w/ encryption Friday, Jan. 23, 2004 at 10:56 PM
fresca fresca Friday, Jan. 23, 2004 at 11:02 PM
You are a nut says jerry the troll Hex anon w/ encryption Friday, Jan. 23, 2004 at 11:08 PM
Back to the original topic. ;lk;lk Saturday, Jan. 24, 2004 at 3:37 AM
oh jerry you're SO american Hex anon w/ encryption Saturday, Jan. 24, 2004 at 4:58 AM
Hee hee! (Have you noticed that's getting to be my standard response to Hex's posts?) lkhjhgjhf Saturday, Jan. 24, 2004 at 4:47 PM
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy