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The Federal Bureau of Investigation announces its intention to create a stronger, better, faster database using biometric data

Biometrics is already something of a buzz word, with more and more of its applications in places like train stations, airports and even Walt Disney World.  Governmental agencies borrowed the word as of late for more interesting projects: identifying people based on intrinsic physical or behavioral traits.

The FBI in particular is no exception, the agency plans to award a 10-year contract with a one billion dollar tab to expand the quantity and quality of its biometric data.

Biometric information can include many things such as fingerprints, palm prints, iris and corneal scans, facial structure, noticeable markings, stride and even innocuous personal behavior like typing rhythm and mouse gestures. The project, dubbed Next Generation Identification (NGI), is set to gather all types of bio-data and store in one location for identification and forensics purposes.

The database would be accessible by many law enforcement and government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, which already uses iris scans at airports to allow people who have passed background checks to move through airport security more quickly; and the Defense Department, which has been collecting data on Iraqi and Afghan detainees for the past two years.

The database could be used to identify known or suspected criminals or terrorists by matching facial structure, iris scans or the gait of walk via cameras in places of interest like bus stations or airports. The eventual goal will be to identify threats in real-time without human intervention.

Detractors to the FBI's plans claim that such a database has many pitfalls. Gathered data, if incorrect or stolen, could prove a serious problem for ordinary citizens that become victims of the system's imperfections.

The new database differs from the TALON database forced out of operation last September.  Whereas TALON stored data on individuals as reported by field officers, NGI's data will largely stem from autonomous data acquisition sources -- like cameras and sensors.  However, data from NGI will be used in conjunction with entries in the Bureau's Guardian Threat Tracking System; a database that took over TALON's entries after its demise.

"It's going to be an essential component of tracking. It's enabling the Always On Surveillance Society," said Barry Steinhardt, director of the Technology and Liberty Project of the American Civil Liberties Union in a Washington Post article last week.

While the idea does ring of an Orwellian society, agencies like the Department of Homeland Security would benefit from such an overt system, should it work as planned. The FBI is working with the West Virginia University Center for Identification Technology Research (CITeR) to make live scanning a reality. CITeR is working on scanning processes that would be able to identify a person by iris scan at up to 15 feet and face-shape by 200 yards. The Center will begin to work with the FBI on biometric research in the near future.

Voicing in on access and privacy concerns, Thomas E. Bush III, assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division stated "we have very stringent laws that control who can go in there and to secure the data." Presently over 900,000 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers have access to the FBI's fingerprint database. The number could increase as more agencies and officials gain access to the growing biometrics database.

More than just privacy advocates have shown disdain for the database.  A recent study in Germany using facial recognition technology garnered a 60 percent matches success rate during optimal lighting conditions. The accuracy plummeted as low as 10 percent in low-light situations. The German law-enforcement agency tolerated a false positive rate of 0.1 percent, or 23 people of the roughly 23,000 that passed through the train station where the study was done.

Homeland security and false identification of criminals aside, the system could have other merits if used by other federal and state institutions like hospitals and missing persons units. Various biometric data could be used to identify victims of crimes, along with possible evidence towards their culprits, or to find missing or runaway children who might happen to pass through an area with an active scanning system.

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RE: Aha
By rcc on 12/27/2007 6:26:05 PM , Rating: 2
Im free of all tax, Im status Indian...everything is tax free for me

Ah, ok, so you are a freeloader.

RE: Aha
By just4U on 12/27/2007 10:14:48 PM , Rating: 2
From what I gather, Native Americans are exempt from taxes while they live on the reserves, but do have to pay some taxes off of them. The list of privledges they recieve as compared to a normal citizen is quite impressive.

It's just to bad that not enough of them see, and take advantage of that to better their lot in life. Hopefully, with education and oportunities more will as time goes by.

For other's, It's not freeloading.. They are building their comunities which were pretty hard done by thru the years, and Canadians feel they have a "rights" that they are entitled to.

It's acually kinda cool that he's proud of all of it... not all of them are unfortunately. Speaking as a White Canadian... I'd give my left ..mmm no My right nut, to get a treaty card. *chuckle*

On topic tho, The States and Canada are alot alike. We have some things that are better but then so do you guys.. I mean ... doesn't know that?

RE: Aha
By rcc on 12/28/2007 11:53:12 AM , Rating: 2
My ex is native american, in the US. On one hand, it's nice not having to pay for medical, etc. for her and her kids, on the other there is a lot of freeloading going on.

Here they do have to pay tax off the reservation. Many of the tribes now have casinos and distribute the earnings from them. Some tribe members use that money to better themselves, and some use it to sit home, drink beer, and smack each other around.

I had a few problems with her family doing the whole "entitlement" thing, and woe is us. I just told them "I didn't do it, I'm not taking responsibility", if you want to talk to my great, great, grandfather, maybe...

::shrugs:: I don't really begrudge them what they get, unless some AH throws it in my face. Then he's a freeloader. : )

RE: Aha
By BruceLeet on 12/28/2007 8:46:26 PM , Rating: 2
::shrugs:: I sense the envy

I think you're angry Canadians get treated legitimately, whereas you got fkd by Uncle Same way to many times, you can enlist or be drafted when your 17-18, can't buy tobacco or alcohol until your 21, you have to pay taxes, I on the other hand...well you know, I've rubbed the envy into your stupid monkey face already. Anyway, I just defend myself from being called a freeloader, I work, 35/hr, 12 hour days of real work, I suppose you work in an office with cheap pay..boring, no travelling!

Don't call others freeloaders, you had your chance to make it when you were in highschool/college, you HAD your chance, you just didn't have the Ambition to be successful, if you don't work real hard don't pride yourself, don't be the stereotype you're country is known for, capitalist political/dickheadness egomaniac scrub who dislikes/envy's the successful guy

Oh btw we don't have Casino's, well not my "tribe".

I sense downrates from envious people a'headin my way, I'm Spiritual that way :)

RE: Aha
By just4U on 12/29/2007 11:29:49 PM , Rating: 2
I think your wrong bruce. He does have a point. Some natives do have a sense of entitlement, and are definitely not what you might call productive. I think that's what he was driving at... and not necessarily a slam at you.

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