Corporate cronyism is more than a tale of Big Business colluding with Big Government to fleece the public. With today’s private economy prostate, many high-tech firms have formed an insidious alliance with federal bureaucrats to create an entire new industry geared toward documenting your every move, decision, and financial choice.
You should see some of the government-sponsored “trade shows” that high-tech firms are attending in Washington these days. Insidious and truly devious schemes to control the public are being concocted by tech firms to wow bureaucrats – and they are as scary as they are radically advanced.
It’s all about serving the political class for big money and the attainment of maximum social control for bureaucrats. Everybody with a thirst for unlimited tax dollars and power fetishes wins!
Biometric ID Systems:
Even Embraced by the GOP
Take for example how giddy central planners are getting about new advances in so-called biometric identification. This technology uses your iris, finger or palm print, face, veins, and even your voice as a unique key to grant access, instead of or along with, a password or other key.
Even former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has advocated the use of a biometric-driven federal database to authenticate the citizenship of any person hired in the U.S. – which effectively sets up the central government as the gate keeper to authorize – or not – whether a person may work.
At an increasing rate, state and federal governments are collecting biometric data, storing it in big central databases, and embedding the information on our passports and driver’s licenses. The problem is when government gets involved on a massive scale and writes big checks, crony-capitalism and market distortion is close behind.
Fortunately, there is a free-market, common-sense solution if the political class is truly concerned for our privacy, anonymity, and liberty…
Big Plans and Big Profit
in Helping Uncle Sam Hound Your Every Move
“In the future, whether it’s entering your home, opening your car, entering your workspace, getting a pharmacy prescription refilled, or having your medical records pulled up, everything will come off that unique key that is your iris,” says Global Rainmakers CDO Jeff Carter, in an interview with FastCompany. “Every person, place, and thing on this planet will be connected [to the iris system] within the next 10 years.”
“When you get masses of people opting-in, opting out does not help. Opting out actually puts more of a flag on you than just being part of the system.”
Carter meant that to sound like a good thing! But if you value your privacy, if liberty is important to you, and if you’re a student of history and Big Government, this statement should make you queasy.
When asked why anyone would volunteer to submit to this government intrusion, he said positively, “There’s a lot of convenience to this – you’ll have nothing to carry except your eyes.” But then he followed-up with this disturbing omen: “When you get masses of people opting-in, opting out does not help. Opting out actually puts more of a flag on you than just being part of the system.”
The Surveillance Industrial Complex
Depends on “Sheeple” to Survive and Prosper
Biometric data is being pushed as a foolproof system. On the surface, the reasoning is the uniqueness of your fingerprints, iris, or voice makes biometric data a logical choice to create a unique digital identity that can be used as key and kept secure in databases. This is nothing but a sales pitch to get us to submit.
A U.S. report commissioned by DARPA, the CIA, and Department of Homeland Security found biometric systems could lead to serious problems as it is rolled out more and more widely. These technologies are inherently fallible.
One privacy and security expert says, “whatever you can store, I can steal.” Meaning the existence of private biometric data stored in big government databases (and big commercial databases, as well) isn’t safe.
On the news, we periodically see supposed bulletproof government and corporate security systems routinely compromised. It’s no different with biometric systems because they have already been successfully hacked. For example, at a security conference:
One researcher used a gelatin mold of a thumb to fool a fingerprint scanner;
A German team fooled an iris scanner with a photograph of an eye;
Another expert used an audio recording to fool a voice recognition system!
The Clear System used in airports is another great example. Plied with promises of shorter security lines, some frequent travelers have submitted to background checks and biometric cataloging. Early in the Clear program, data for 33,000 passengers was compromised after an unencrypted computer turned up missing.
Previously, we’ve discussed how Social Security numbers are themselves a major security and privacy flaw. What makes them most vulnerable is they can’t (not easily) be cancelled or deleted. In other words, once your Social Security number is compromised… too bad – you’re stuck with that dirty number.
Compare this to losing your keys. Just change the lock on the door; problem solved. Or if you lost your credit card, your bank issues you a new card and number. Again, problem solved.
Not so with biometric data. It’s really tough to get a new set of fingerprints or a brand-new face!
Like many things the government touches, the growing use of biometric data will create bigger problems down the road and cause moral hazard. In this case, a moral “security” hazard due to the over-reliance and wider use of biometric security measures, which are not foolproof (but are very good at invading our privacy).
Is There a Free-Market Solution
to Biometric Use and Data Collection
That Actually Protects Privacy?
Security researcher and Innovya founder Michael Shafir invented a security protocol called Traceless Biometrics System (TBS), and it seems to be on the right side of privacy and security.
“With this technology, there is no need for central databases, stored templates, or any type of smart cards. The traceless solution is completely anonymous, removing all privacy law issues and any chance of being cloned,” he writes.“Innocent people should NOT be recognized ‘automatically’ by their ‘body parts copies’ stored in ‘Private’ or ‘National’ databases.”
This system hands you control and ownership of your own biometric data. Think about your ATM card and pin number. You select the pin number, which gives you access to an ATM machine, plus you can change the pin any time.
Shafir’s Traceless Biometrics System works in a similar fashion. In this case, the pin is your biometric marker (iris, finger print, etc.). You choose it, it’s not stored in a big database center out of your control, and you can change it whenever you want. Your privacy is protected, and your security can adapt to intrusions.
We seriously doubt that Uncle Sam has any interest in privacy-centric biometrics, however. If current trends continue biometric confirmation will be mandatory for most forms of travel, commerce and even getting a job. Count on us to pay close attention to this trend in ways no other publisher does!