Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking back 2013

Bio - body  metric - measure

"Once a child has touched a scanner they will be at the mercy of the matching algorithm for the rest of their lives."
Brian Drury, IT Security consultant

(Photo link)

The introduction of biometrics in society has rolled out more in 2013 than any other with smart phones using facial recognition and fingerprint biometrics for authentication, shops tracking consumers with facial recognition, police using CCTV and facial recognition, a US company using facial expressions of pupils to determine their reaction to lessons, the list could go on...

Notably in the UK now for every child's biometric, a school has to store a corresponding parental signature of consent.  This is required in law which became enforceable on 1st September 2013 - the first country globally to have parental consent in legislation for educational establishments to store and process a child's biometrics.

UK Police can potentially access school databases (see Q50 & 51) but a recent Freedom of Information request, sent in May 2013 to every police force in the UK, could not ascertain whether or not police have ever actually accessed a school biometric database - more in the New Year on those Freedom of Information request results.

I guess we'll never know if government authorities do access our children's biometrics.  Given the recent Snowdon revelations, why would we believe they would not access harvested biometric data from millions of children?

Maybe keeping our, and our children's, biometrics private, off institutional and corporate databases as much as we can, is prudent.  These are interesting times we are living in, where the free flow of data is great.  Information at the quickest touch of a button via the Internet.  Information is a tool.  Governments and institutions may be benign now (though some might debate that point) but this may not be so in the future and the highly personal level of information we willingly give now may come back to bite us in the future.
History, unfortunately, has a habit of repeating itself.

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