This isn’t a South American take on Radford’s film take on Orwell’s literary masterpiece — it’s a real video, of a real program. SIBIOS, the Federal System of Biometric Identification, is a massive database that leverages big data to allow authorities to identify people based on their DNA, their iris and, yes, even the way they walk.
For a continent that was so deeply disturbed by the Snowden leaks, this is a step in the wrong direction that is baffling anti-surveillance advocates. Critics are especially concerned with Argentina’s initiative because the country has a long history of of intelligence agencies acting hapharazdly, with multiple major scandals erupting over the last few years.
Argentina joins Brazil (who’s government monitors WhatsApp activity) and Columbia (which has actively snooped on and threatened journalists) in institutionalizing surveillance through digital platforms.