New System Developed By Pentagon Identifies Walkers
One possible element of the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency’s (DARPA) proposed Total Information Awareness (TIA) U.S. citizen surveillance database could be “gait signatures” extracted by a device developed by Georgia Institute of Technology researchers with Pentagon funding.
The device employs a radar that can record unique qualities of a person’s walk even from 600 feet away, according to project leader Gene Greneker, who also notes that the technique has certain advantages over video cameras, such as being able to detect gait signatures in darkness, inclement weather, and with walkers wearing obscuring apparel.
The radar is keyed to small changes in frequency in the reflected signal off the walker’s legs, arms, and torso. The system could be used, for example, to alert security officers that an unauthorized person is in a restricted area by comparing his or her gait signature with those in a database, or to identify a suspicious individual who is repeatedly seen outside a sensitive location, possibly for nefarious purposes.
Greneker says his team is not concerned about the privacy implications of the device, insisting that the government must address this issue.
DARPA is also funding other research at Georgia Tech that uses computers and video cameras to determine gait signatures.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Associated Press (05/19/03); Sniffen, Michael J.