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Story Publication logo February 2, 2024

In the Name of Security? (German)


People walk down the street. Digital squares are placed over the face of each person, presumably to identify individual facial features.

An increasing number of policymakers are turning to artificial intelligence to fight and prevent...

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An English summary of the report is below. The original report, published in German in Human Magazin, follows.

A study by the data protection organization Access Now shows that Argentina, along with Brazil and Ecuador, is one of the most surveilled countries in South America.

There are more than 15,000 surveillance cameras in Buenos Aires alone. Facial recognition systems are also in use in the cities of Mendoza, Córdoba, Salta, San Juan, Tigre, and Jujuy. While some cities in the United States, including San Francisco and Boston, ban real-time facial recognition in public spaces, investments are being made in South America.

Critics see this as a worst-case scenario: The technology is often used without an adequate legal framework and functioning controls. In Buenos Aires, a member of the commission that was supposed to control the use of the technology says the city government refuses to respond to requests for information about the system.

The article "Im Namen der Sicherheit" ("In the Name of Security") is published in the new magazine Human, which deals with topics from the field of artificial intelligence, including from an ethical and philosophical perspective.

We have been reporting from South America for many years and know the dilemma from our own experiences: Is it worth giving up parts of our privacy for the sake of security? How much security do cameras really provide?

Most Argentines seem to think: Security first. A walk through the center of Buenos Aires shows that there are cameras almost everywhere.

The sun is shining on the Plaza de Mayo, the square in front of the pink government building. What do passers-by think about the massive surveillance? We asked young people and older people. They all say: Cameras make them feel safe.

A study by an opinion research institute confirms that Argentines definitely have other concerns: first and foremost, high inflation and crime.

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