Privacy Issues Related to Biometrics
fingerprints, face scans, retina scans, embedded chips,
and surveillance cameras
Giving The Fingerprint:
Home Law Raises Concern. Fingerprinting is something we often associate with crime. So the
fact that Cook County home sellers — and homeowners across the state — will soon have to
provide a thumb print left some people shocked.
Speeders Could Get Fingerprinted. Motorists stopped for traffic violations in Tennessee could
be fingerprinted if state lawmakers approve a bill pending in the legislature. Currently, when drivers
are cited during traffic stops, police officers ask for the driver's signature on the ticket, but the proposed
bill would allow police departments to eliminate signatures and collect fingerprints.
A new biometrics risk? A commonly-used cancer
drug can make patients' fingerprints disappear, potentially causing problems for foreign travel, a doctor warns.
Ask your doctor if capecitabine is right for you! Cancer drug erases fingerprints. A
commonly-used cancer drug can make patients' fingerprints disappear, potentially causing problems for foreign
travel, a doctor warns. One patient was held by US immigration officials for four hours before they
allowed him to enter the country. The case is highlighted in the journal Annals of Oncology.
The Editor asks...
Is the drug available to those who just want new fingerprints — or no fingerprints?
Japanese vending machine face recognition accepts 10-yr-old as
adult. A 10-year-old boy in Kyoto was able to purchase cigarettes from a vending machine equipped with face
identification technology, it has been found. Kyoto Prefectural Police conducted an experiment with the cooperation
of the boy, who had bought cigarettes from a vending machine this February.
Millions of children to be
fingerprinted. British children, possibly as young as six, will be subjected to compulsory
fingerprinting under European Union rules being drawn up in secret. The prints will be stored on a
database which could be shared with countries around the world.
really is watching: All four walls are filled with plasma television screens,
the latest in display technology, including some with satellite videoconferencing
capabilities. The floor space is filled with rows of tables and computers, and
populated with men and women from various branches of the military as well as civilian
experts in science, medicine and bioterrorism.
Biometrics Pinned to Social
Security Cards. The Social Security card faces its first major upgrade in 70 years under
two immigration-reform proposals slated for debate this week that would add biometric information to the card
and finally complete its slow metamorphosis into a national ID.
Becoming Fact Rather Than Fiction. More and more people are coming to the realization that using
a biometric ID system is becoming a reality. Some of the advanced technologies portrayed in Sci-Fi movies
are quickly becoming part of our everyday life.
Eye Scan Technology Comes to Schools. At
this point, the New Jersey program is not mandatory. When picking up a child, the adult provides a
driver's license and then submits to an eye scan. If the iris image camera recognizes his or her
eyes, the door clicks open.
The following synopsis came from
this page. Finger Scanning At Disney Parks
Causes Concern. Disney's theme parks are trying to prevent people from buying
season passes and then sharing their passes with others. To make sure you are really you,
they scan several fingers and encode the data on to a magnetic stripe on the season pass. When
you visit the park, your fingers are scanned and compared to the information on the card. If they
match, cool. Of course, the system is not perfect and legitimate pass holders can be rejected
by the system. A new report though says that Disney is now scanning the fingers of all their
customers. Presumably they are storing this information in an online database.
Pentagon Tests Blimp
Over D.C.. A developmental Army surveillance blimp made an extended appearance
over the nation's capital Wednesday [9/29/2004], buzzing over the Pentagon and other landmarks
in what officials said was a demonstration of a technology that could be used to protect troops.
Will Watch the Watchers? Mexico's emerging surveillance state offers
a sobering look into the future if the Power Elite's proposal for a "continental
security" perimeter becomes reality.
Want to use the Web? Your
fingerprint, please. Soon, patrons of the Naperville Public Library - at least those
wanting to use the Internet – will need more than a library card. They'll give a
fingerprint. … The library, like other Internet providers nationwide, has realized
computer users aren't always who they say they are. And the technology it will use to check up on them is
fairly simple – patrons will press a glass-topped scanner.
passports expected by December. The first U.S. passport to feature
facial-recognition technology should be produced by December , but the technology won't
be widely distributed until late 2005, a State Department official told Congress on
Sci Fi Reality Creep:
Subdermal biochip implants are no longer radical right-wing or fundamental Christian fear
mongering — they are reality, and Digital Angel is hard at work convincing a gullible world that
they are the slickest thing since pre-sliced bread.
Chicago Mayor Unveils Surveillance
Plan. More than 2,000 surveillance cameras in public places would be tied in to a network that
would use sophisticated software to spot emergencies or suspicious behavior under a plan announced by Mayor
Machines at Palm Beach airport
fail face-recognition test: Random tests of facial-recognition technology at a Florida airport
this spring show that it failed to identify even half of the employees who went through screening. The
American Civil Liberties Union released the results of the first four weeks of an eight-week study at Palm
Beach International Airport. According to the group, the system made a match only 455 out of
958 times that volunteers who had their faces recorded digitally in the computer system went
EPIC's Face Recognition Page: Throughout
the nation and the world, the debate on the privacy implications of face recognition and other surveillance
technologies is heating up. In January 2001, the city of Tampa, Florida used the technology to scan the
faces of people in crowds at the Super Bowl, comparing them with images in a database of digital mug
shots. Privacy International subsequently gave the 2001 Big Brother Award for "Worst Public
Official" to the City of Tampa for spying on Super Bowl attendees.
Face the Facts. One stubborn fact
remains: Facial recognition technology doesn't work.
watching you? Among the many reactions to the September 11 tragedy
has been a renewed attention to biometrics. The federal government has led the
way with its new concern about border control. Other proposals include the use of
biometrics with ID cards and in airports, e.g. video surveillance enhanced by
and Abuses. Biometrics are the oldest form of identification. Dogs
have distinctive barks. Cats spray. Humans recognize
faces. On the telephone, your voice identifies you. Your
signature identifies you as the person who signed a contract.
Spy Zeppelin Flies Into Greek Flak. Greek activists say a 200-foot surveillance
zeppelin patrolling Olympic Athens tramples on civil rights and have launched legal action to
ground it. The blimp, dubbed Big Brother by local media, carries a battery
of hi-tech sensors from spy cameras to chemical agent detectors and is part of Greece's
$1.2 billion security plan.
may leave a home exposed: Thousands of people who have installed a popular
wireless video camera, intending to increase the security of their homes and offices, have
instead unknowingly opened a window on their activities to anyone equipped with a cheap
find hidden cameras: While it was easy to spot cameras twenty years ago due
to their large size, this has become increasingly difficult during the last decade. Cameras
have become much smaller and consume a fraction of the power they did ten years ago. Due to
this, covert installation in nearly any imaginable place is possible.
recognition technology is a proven farce: Crowd
surveillance kit using face recognition technology by Visionics has been
a comic failure in tests by the Tampa, Florida police, the American Civil
Liberties Union (ACLU) has discovered. By leveraging the Florida open-records
law, the watchdog organization obtained system logs proving that the Visionics
contraption has thus far failed to identify one single crook or pervert listed
in the department's photographic database, while falsely identifying 'a large
number' of innocent citizens.
Monitor: The Electronic Frontier Foundation maintains this web page
documenting public surveillance and related information from around the world.
ID Technology Could Be Part of Security Solution: Twenty-first
century technology could play a major role in
combatting any future terrorist attacks. Digital face recognition
technology used at the 2001 Super Bowl triggered outrage in some
quarters over privacy concerns, but some of those concerns may be
set aside in today's post-September 11 world.
Clears Implantable Chip: A company plans to begin selling
a computer ID chip that can be embedded beneath people's skin, now that
the Food and Drug Administration has said it will not regulate the
implant as long as it contains no medical data.
Biometrics: Beyond hype
and hysteria. Although the September 11 terrorist attacks focused
the spotlight on technologies that recognize irises, facial features, fingerprints
and voice, the heightened focus on security is not translating into boom sales of
biometrics products. In fact, biometrics suppliers are still struggling to
find ways to sell their technology to more enterprise-level customers. Even
worse, they are viewed in some quarters as facilitators of
a "Big Brother" police state.
fears move closer to reality: In a post-Sept. 11 world, the technical
opportunities for surveillance seem endless: national identification cards, face-recognition
systems and video cameras on street corners. But who will ensure that those technologies
are not abused in the name of protecting citizens from terrorism?
Big Brother chips away at civil
liberties: A US technology company is seeking to market the first-ever computer ID chip that can
be embedded beneath a person's skin. For airports, nuclear power plants and other high security
facilities, the immediate benefits could be a security system that is close to fool-proof – but human
rights groups warn that the chip could lead to encroachments on civil liberties.
House Leader Wants Probe of
Privacy Invaders: House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, is calling on congressional
investigators to find out to what extent the federal government is funding facial-recognition
technologies. He is also calling on the relevant House committees to hold hearings on law enforcement use
of surveillance technology. The General Accounting Office, the congressional watchdog, is looking into
the question of taxpayers' own money being used to finance efforts to spy on them. In a joint statement
with the American Civil Liberties Union, Armey refers to "the troubling expansion in the way technology is
being used in the surveillance of ordinary Americans."
ACLU Jointly Declare War Against Surveillance Cameras: Even though most of the time, House
Republican Leader Richard Armey (R-Texas) and the American Civil Liberties Union are on opposite sides of
issues, both on Wednesday issued a joint statement calling on state and local governments to stop using
surveillance cameras. "Over the past several days, a troubling expansion in the way technology is
being used in the surveillance of ordinary Americans has come to light. In response, we are today
joining together to call on all state and local governments to stop using these dangerous technologies now
before privacy in America is so diminished that it becomes nothing more than a fond memory", the joint
Has Happened to Our Privacy?Law enforcement is
increasingly using technology to catch lawbreakers. But where it does so without
using the judgment of a police officer as well, it damages traditional law enforcement
and thus the Constitution. Such things as traffic cameras violate our rights
Armey Opposes "Big Brother" on
Highways: House Majority Leader Dick Armey, angry over the use of radar cameras to enforce speed
limits on federal roads, will send a letter later Tuesday to the Interior Department decrying the practice as
a "step toward a Big Brother surveillance state," The Washington Times reported.
Fingerprint May Soon Be Needed to
Buy Groceries. The day will come when you put your finger on a scanning device to prove who you
are before you engage in transactions at retail stores, ATMs, banks and even when you buy groceries. One
company making such a device is engaged in a pilot project (in the Houston area) with the nation's largest
grocery chain: Kroger.