Surveillance tech on the border and at home: Slate’s If Then talks to Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera and Brian Brackeen.

The Problem With Face Recognition, as Explained by the CEO of a Face-Recognition Company

The Problem With Face Recognition, as Explained by the CEO of a Face-Recognition Company

Decoding the Logic of Silicon Valley
July 11 2018 3:28 PM

The Surveillance State’s Eyes at the U.S. Border

Technology is reshaping law enforcement on the border and at home—not always for the better.

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Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Listen to If Then by clicking the arrow on the audio player below, or get the show via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.

On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk to Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a professor of political science and policy at George Mason University and an expert on immigration and security at the U.S.–Mexico border. They discuss how technology contractors benefit from working with the government to carry out its immigration policies—while others suffer from the ever-broadening surveillance state. And they examine the concept of a “virtual border wall” and what that might look like in reality.


The hosts are then joined by Brian Brackeen, CEO of face-recognition company Kairos. Kairos provides face-recognition technology to businesses, but Brackeen warns that putting that same kind of software and data in the hands of law enforcement is a very bad idea. Oremus and Glaser ask him why that is, and what he sees as the more appropriate uses for a controversial cutting-edge technology.

Stories discussed on the show:

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:

You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at

If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.