How do you all feel about this (surveilance issues)

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bace135 in the house tonight!
Member Since: Jan 28, 2003

FBI wants palm prints, eye scans, tattoo mapping
Story Highlights
FBI expected to award $1 billion contract to help collect data on people

Privacy advocate says it's the first step toward a "surveillance society"

FBI says it's needed to help track terrorists and other criminals

Palm prints and optical eye scans likely to become more common

From Kelli Arena and Carol Cratty

CLARKSBURG, West Virginia (CNN) -- The FBI is gearing up to create a massive computer database of people's physical characteristics, all part of an effort the bureau says to better identify criminals and terrorists.

But it's an issue that raises major privacy concerns -- what one civil liberties expert says should concern all Americans.

The bureau is expected to announce in coming days the awarding of a $1 billion, 10-year contract to help create the database that will compile an array of biometric information -- from palm prints to eye scans.

Kimberly Del Greco, the FBI's Biometric Services section chief, said adding to the database is "important to protect the borders to keep the terrorists out, protect our citizens, our neighbors, our children so they can have good jobs, and have a safe country to live in."

But it's unnerving to privacy experts.

"It's the beginning of the surveillance society where you can be tracked anywhere, any time and all your movements, and eventually all your activities will be tracked and noted and correlated," said Barry Steinhardt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Technology and Liberty Project.

The FBI already has 55 million sets of fingerprints on file. In coming years, the bureau wants to compare palm prints, scars and tattoos, iris eye patterns, and facial shapes. The idea is to combine various pieces of biometric information to positively identify a potential suspect.

A lot will depend on how quickly technology is perfected, according to Thomas Bush, the FBI official in charge of the Clarksburg, West Virginia, facility where the FBI houses its current fingerprint database. Watch what the FBI hopes to gain

"Fingerprints will still be the big player," Bush, assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division, told CNN.

But he added, "Whatever the biometric that comes down the road, we need to be able to plug that in and play."

First up, he said, are palm prints. The FBI has already begun collecting images and hopes to soon use these as an additional means of making identifications. Countries that are already using such images find 20 percent of their positive matches come from latent palm prints left at crime scenes, the FBI's Bush said.

The FBI has also started collecting mug shots and pictures of scars and tattoos. These images are being stored for now as the technology is fine-tuned. All of the FBI's biometric data is stored on computers 30-feet underground in the Clarksburg facility.

In addition, the FBI could soon start comparing people's eyes -- specifically the iris, or the colored part of an eye -- as part of its new biometrics program called Next Generation Identification.

Nearby, at West Virginia University's Center for Identification Technology Research, researchers are already testing some of these technologies that will ultimately be used by the FBI.

"The best increase in accuracy will come from fusing different biometrics together," said Bojan Cukic, the co-director of the center.

But while law enforcement officials are excited about the possibilities of these new technologies, privacy advocates are upset the FBI will be collecting so much personal information.

"People who don't think mistakes are going to be made I don't think fly enough," said Steinhardt.

He said thousands of mistakes have been made with the use of the so-called no-fly lists at airports -- and that giving law enforcement widespread data collection techniques should cause major privacy alarms.

"There are real consequences to people," Steinhardt said. Watch concerns over more data collection

You don't have to be a criminal or a terrorist to be checked against the database. More than 55 percent of the checks the FBI runs involve criminal background checks for people applying for sensitive jobs in government or jobs working with vulnerable people such as children and the elderly, according to the FBI.

The FBI says it hasn't been saving the fingerprints for those checks, but that may change. The FBI plans a so-called "rap-back" service in which an employer could ask the FBI to keep the prints for an employee on file and let the employer know if the person ever has a brush with the law. The FBI says it will first have to clear hurdles with state privacy laws, and people would have to sign waivers allowing their information to be kept.

Critics say people are being forced to give up too much personal information. But Lawrence Hornak, the co-director of the research center at West Virginia University, said it could actually enhance people's privacy.

"It allows you to project your identity as being you," said Hornak. "And it allows people to avoid identity theft, things of that nature." Watch Hornak describe why he thinks it's a "privacy enhancer"

There remains the question of how reliable these new biometric technologies will be. A 2006 German study looking at facial recognition in a crowded train station found successful matches could be made 60 percent of the time during the day. But when lighting conditions worsened at night, the results shrank to a success rate of 10 to 20 percent.

As work on these technologies continues, researchers are quick to admit what's proven to be the most accurate so far. "Iris technology is perceived today, together with fingerprints, to be the most accurate," said Cukic.

But in the future all kinds of methods may be employed. Some researchers are looking at the way people walk as a possible additional means of identification.

The FBI says it will protect all this personal data and only collect information on criminals and those seeking sensitive jobs.

The ACLU's Steinhardt doesn't believe it will stop there.

"This had started out being a program to track or identify criminals," he said. "Now we're talking about large swaths of the population -- workers, volunteers in youth programs. Eventually, it's going to be everybody."

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Ne'er ate 'er
Since: Apr 05, 2006

Feb 04, 2008 05:45 pm

They already have my fingerprints, SSN, and DL number. They know where I work, how much money I make, and the names and addresses of my family. Having a picture of my eyeball and my DNA isn't going to make any difference. It's just another method of ID.

I gots nothing to hide.

Since: Jan 24, 2006

Feb 04, 2008 05:54 pm

That's always been my approach. I've got nothing to hide so I don't care. Civil Liberties stuff, at least used to, be much less of a deal in the UK so I've never understood the resistance to it here.

Of course later in life when I do have something to hide I may regret my lax attitude :)
Since: Feb 07, 2005

Feb 04, 2008 06:19 pm

I don't have anything against it since like most I don't have anything to hide. However, something doesn't feel right in the gut though.

Since: Jan 18, 2003

Feb 04, 2008 07:06 pm

as long as they don't try to put a chip in me or something similar. best to refuse 'the mark of the beast,' just because.

after a little while it'll be possible to track people pretty well without actually asking people to consent to providing information, which is just...nicer to me. AI will be getting much better in coming years, to the point where real face identification, as good as humans, will be possible, i believe. and voice ID. and the devices we carry will always be in contact with the internet. in such a world, if you choose to be use the grid, you're on it, and you're watched, and that's fine. it's still in some sense your choice. but to actually ask people to provide palm prints and eye scans specifically for the purpose of monitoring them to me sort of crosses the line. i can't even explain how, it just feels wrong.

The Czar of BS
Since: Dec 31, 2007

Feb 04, 2008 09:07 pm

I know that a lot of people feel that the civil liberty union, is just making mountains out of mole hills.

I feel that they are trying to prevent anyone from having to much control.

If you just think on how many times you are photographed each day, it's kind of frighting.

1984 and Brave New World, are not just fairy tales. They are warnings about observations that the authors foreseen coming.

Saying that you have nothing to hide, is one thing. How long before you really have nothing to hide? That is quite another thing.

Now I know that a palm print and a retina scan is miles away from a camera in every living room. But, I have always believed that the small steps in surveillance for the FBI and other authorities take, lead us yet one step closer to that.

This is why I think that the French have the right idea. They do believe that the Government should fear there people, not the people fearing their Government.

A cliche', maybe? Paranoid? Possibly. But, I'd rather be that, then sorry.

Head Knocker
Since: May 20, 2007

Feb 04, 2008 09:09 pm

They already have every number I've been issued, my prints, and my DNA.

In California when you are arrested they ask you to voluntarily provide a DNA sample. When I was nabbed for disturbing the peace I said OK and gave the sample. They can easily exclude you from being a suspect with DNA or they can include you because they can't prove it isn't you.

( I threw a lit firecracker out into the street just before a police cruiser turned onto my street and rolled over the firecracker. $35.00 and 35 minutes time served.)

Chief Cook and Bottle Washer
Since: May 10, 2002

Feb 04, 2008 10:50 pm

It's not about what they have, it's about who they are. I trust George Bushwacker as far as I can throw him by his nose ring. I trust Hillary Rottontothecore less. Here's the gig; Are you working toward bringing positive change to the country or an anarchist? They decide. Is that a problem? Depends on who "they" are. It is the opinion of many that too many criminals beyond reporach reside in the U.S.

Perfect world crap. Doesn't exist and technology won't help it much.

Eat Spam before it eats YOU!!!
Since: May 11, 2002

Feb 04, 2008 10:58 pm

Considering almost all of this technology has already been hacked I'm not too concerned about it.

What does concern me is placing all of this data in a single database... that will make it a very juicy target.

another concern is stuff like Egg canceling the credit lines to their customers with too good of credit... however I probably don't fall in that category....

'They' got my prints and DNA from the military.... tattoo descriptions would be given too...

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Feb 05, 2008 09:44 pm

To me it is just another data base to be hacked by identity theft morons. And don't say it will never get hacked. Take a look into the past of may very secure companies that lost tons of data to theft. And now it is being used for who knows what.

To me there is too much personal invasion going on and it needs to go away.

The statement made about wanting control. That is exactly what it is, they want complete control over who, what and where.

I don't want any part of that.

bace135 in the house tonight!
Since: Jan 28, 2003

Feb 06, 2008 01:19 pm

Are you working toward bringing positive change to the country or an anarchist? They decide.

I think this is a very poignant point. And the FBI has a history of abusing power and trust ( not a joke). Sure you may have nothting to hide, but maybe some day you will. And it might not be because you did something wrong, but because someone accused you of doing something wrong. Or maybe someone has that same generic barbed wire tatoo or american flag tatoo that you have, oops, now you fit the description.

Cats in this country are so scared, they will agree to just about anything, if it is said that it will protect them from the, I mean terrorists. I say, send me a check for $10.00, it'll help ward off the bogeyman.

Ne'er ate 'er
Since: Apr 05, 2006

Feb 06, 2008 01:40 pm

another data base to be hacked by identity theft morons

If someone went to all the trouble to steal my palm print and retina scan, then implant them in/on his body just to steal my measly credit, I'd have to applaud him for his efforts.

Or laugh.

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Feb 06, 2008 01:54 pm

Personally, I have a little trouble with this, but not much. Like Herb said, they already have most of my information from previous legal indiscretions, or, because they issued it to me in the first place.

The have finger prints, mug shots, SS#, DL#, they know my job, my cars, my address, pics of my tattoos (as they were then), etc...

That said, I don't feel they have a right to knock on my door for no reason, or call me into their lab for no reason, to submit more info.

If somebody pops up on "the grid", so to speak, gets arrested for something, yes, then take the information, but to just do it without a reason to target the individual seems aggressive. However, should I be asked, I wouldn't do much other than be an ******* through the process, simply because, as others have said, I have nothing to hide. I did back then, I don't any more...

Additionally, I think the gov't would be in much better intelligence gathering condition if they would simply coordinate the information they already have scattered around various local police, regional sheriffs, and federal law enforcement agencies.

Coolo is right though, the fear being perpetrated on society by the media and politicians, is resulting more people than ever wearing tin foil hats...

bace135 in the house tonight!
Since: Jan 28, 2003

Feb 06, 2008 02:02 pm

Hmmm interesting point, db, though not sure if you meant it this way.

Nothing to hide vs. done nothing wrong. Why do I have to give up info if I've done nothing wrong. Does innocent until proven guilty still exist. Or is it, give us this info so we can prove your innocent.

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Feb 06, 2008 02:06 pm

That's exactly the way I meant it.

See, this is the same reason I think every single person running for prez is currently completely ignorant on the subject of immigration, because the exact logic applies there.

My goal with immigration would be to tighten the borders NOW. Then, regarding the people that are already here...easy as hell, if/when they pop up on the grid, deal with them, if they never do pop up on the grid, well, leave them alone, if they are not criminals, I don't care if they are here...or, not as much anyway, not enough to waste a ton of resources on 'em.

If they do pop up, print 'em, tattoo 'em, I don't care, then detain them until they can fill a plane, bus, train or whatever and ship 'em back from whence they came...

It doesn't seem that hard...yet politicians everywhere have elaborate plans that make no sense...

If they aren't making problems, don't give them problems.

bace135 in the house tonight!
Since: Jan 28, 2003

Feb 06, 2008 02:16 pm

****, that actually makes sense, db.

The only problem I hear is that those that are deported just find a way to sneak back into the country. So, if they show up on the grid, the only thing to do might be just to incarcerate them here... and we all know what kind of money pit that is.

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Feb 06, 2008 02:23 pm

****, that actually makes sense, db.

Should I be offended that you sound surprised :-D

As far as sneaking back in, always a threat...however, if the borders are snugged up like they SHOULD be, and COULD be, it would be less of a problem.

Maybe bring the National Guard back home to, ohhhhh, I dunno, GUARD THE NATION perhaps...silly thought, I know...

Borders COULD be policed far better...and get rid of the lawsuits from groups like the ACLU that sues the gov't for not having bottled water on known holes in the broder that immigrants travel so they don't dehydrate and die while "immigrating" might help too.

Well, I gotta run...get this:

I am starting a new gig next week, starting Jan 1 you need a SS Card to get a job, not just the number, the CARD, the physical ******* card...which I haven't had in 20 I get to spend the afternoon in the SS Office in MPLS, which is in just a GREAT part of town...

All thanks to the immigrants, terrorist and the gov't says me having that card will help.


bace135 in the house tonight!
Since: Jan 28, 2003

Feb 06, 2008 02:29 pm

C'mon, if people can forge drivers licenses, it should be no problem forging the paper SS card... I mean c'mon. Luckily I still have my ss card. People always used to act like I was crazy for treating that, and my birth certificate like they were sacred.

Czar of Turd Polish
Since: Jun 20, 2006

Feb 06, 2008 04:54 pm

See, I could care less as I also have nothing to hide. Until I am framed for murder and am on the run ala Tom Cruise style.

Eat Spam before it eats YOU!!!
Since: May 11, 2002

Feb 06, 2008 06:00 pm

IMO ... if RFID gets out of hand we'll be seeing consumer versions of faraday suits...

oh wait...
Since: Nov 27, 2007

Feb 06, 2008 09:13 pm

didnt z Germans do similar thing in Germany during the 2nd world war?
Obviously not having the technology, they employed the public to spy into their neighbours windows and the like and report all suspicious behaviour, in the end everyone was sus on everyone. All tying to make some coin.

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