Friday, May 22, 2020

COVID security theater

People are very afraid of this pandemic. The safe thing to do would be to continue encouraging them to stay home and guarantee a basic level of income until it's over. But we can't do that because we still have to have bodies to feed "the economy." So what do we do? Sounds like a fantastic business opportunity.
Acadian Total Security is rolling out thermographic imaging services to interested clients across the region to “protect customers and employees from COVID-19.” The technology claims to scan the face of anyone entering the vicinity and detect elevated skin-surface temperatures. If an above-average temperature is found, an alarm notifies the business owner so further screening can be done, Acadian said in a release.
The cameras cost between $7000 and 70,000 each and are being sought after by businesses, school systems, and local government facilities all of which sounds like very smart fiscal practice during a time of heavy layoffs and austerity budget cuts.

Do they actually work, through? Depends on what you want them to do. If you want them to protect anyone from COVID 19, then, no.
There are some caveats about the use of thermal cameras, especially as protection against spreading COVID-19.

The technology isn’t intended to diagnose illness or prevent the spread of disease. Several thermal camera companies, including FLIR Systems, have released disclaimers that their products aren’t intended to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus and can’t be used to find COVID-19 infected individuals.
If you want to pretend you are protecting people so you can kind of go about your business then they work a little bit depending on whether that fools anybody. If you want to make a ton of money fooling desperate and gullible business owners and government officials into buying your cameras, then they seem to work great.

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