Saturday, July 07, 2007

"We must reform the current immigration laws so we can secure our borders, implement a mandatory biometrically enabled, tamper proof documentation and employment verification system, and increase legal immigration into America."

- from the campaign website for Mitt Romney, Republican presidential candidate.

There is not much to say on this. There was the case of the Malaysian car thieves who cut of their victims finger for easier access to his Mercedes S-class. A minor concern, I think. Most popular opposition to biometrics involves concerns over "privacy". The bad news is that privacy no longer exists in any real sense. We are all data-mined. Such considerations are a mask for something far deeper. Is anybody else simply creeped out?

"Controlling physical access to buildings is one of biometric’s more popular uses, with one estimate predicting a market of $389 million by 2004. That’s just a fraction of the total market for biometrics, predicted to grow from $116 million in 2000, to $2 billion in 2006, to $5 billion in 2010. After all, if you can sell biometrics to measure schoolchildren, you can push it in the workplace too. Currently less than 1 percent of North American companies use biometrics to secure their computer systems. Bentham’s ghost would be proud to know that number is soon to rise.

Funny, even if the technology were available to those of us in the outer ring of the Panopticon, we don’t see how using high technology to 'authenticate a person’s claimed identity from his/her previously enrolled pattern,' will do anything for us. We already have our own technologies for doing this: they’re called eyes, ears, memory, discernment, and a process called 'getting to know a person.' We can see, however, how mechanical (and thus far less sophisticated) technologies would be useful for those running a massive prison. " - Derrick Jensen


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