Yona had related a story of a problem where a potential biometrics customer
had refused to use a hand geometry scanner because of concerns over germs.
He went on to explain how they had to deal with people concerned about the hand
scanner was reading "The Mark of the Beast". I related my concerns and why
I was opposed to biometrics in certain applications. There was no public
response to my posting.
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 16:50:30 +0800
Reply-To: The Biometric Consortium's Discussion List
Sender: The Biometric Consortium's Discussion List
Subject: Resistance to biometrics.
From: yona flink
Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2001 1:49 AM
Some of you may consider this a Joke, but it is not and should
be taken very seriously, since these and similar problems exist
in the real world of biometrics.
I suspect that many of the people on this list will be baffled by what I am
about to say. Other's may think it a joke, and still other may dismiss it as
'crazy talk'. But whatever it is, practitioners of biometrics must address
this concern in some way before this technology will get wide acceptance.
I have given this concern the name "The Jews in the Attic Problem." Basically,
whatever would make it difficult or impossible to 'hide Jews in your attic'
will be resisted. Imagine living in Germany in the late '30s, but with the
computer technology we have now. Would it have been possible for you to hide
and smuggle people targeted for the "work camps"? Documents, magnetic swipe
cards, smart cards, and the like can be forged, stolen, and duplicated.
Biometric ID is much, much more difficult -- which is one of it's great
selling points. But this great selling point also makes it (in the minds of
many) totally unacceptable because of the tremendous potential for abuse by
tyrannical governments. Imagine instead of the cliché of the German accented
"Papers please" request at random check points, traffic stops, and border
crossings it's a request for a biometric identifier. This is the image in some
people's minds of biometrics.
A year or so ago an acquaintance told me of his state's consideration of
fingerprints on drivers licenses. He seriously told me that if it passed and
the governor signed it into law he would start mailing legislators (who had
voted for it) thumbs to the governor. Since he had spent several years in the
US military as a commando, including extensive combat action, I was fairly
certain he had both the physical and mentally capacity of doing this. Yes, I
know that several states have done this and to date there haven't been any
terrorist activities (that I know of) associated with those requirements. But
people could move from those states -- which this person did. He said he was
done moving and ready to "make his stand for freedom".
There are organized groups that take this issue exceedingly seriously and
although you have to read between the lines or talk to people in private about
it there are many people that would advocate 'solutions' similar to that
proposed by my acquaintance in the paragraph above. One example organization
is "Concerned Citizens Opposed to Police States" (http://www.ccops.org/).
This is a sister organization to "Jews For the Preservation of Firearms
Ownership" (http://www.jpfo.org). I am
fairly certain the executives at these organizations would not publicly
advocate violence over the requirement of biometric identification required by
law. But they certainly advocate that option be available should an abusive
government come into power. And I'm nearly certain they would view government
mandated biometrics as another step closer to "A Police State".
I don't have any solution to this concern and in fact there may be no
solution. But without a clear statement of the problem there is no hope for a
solution. Perhaps I have made a small step closer to a solution by presenting
my statement of the problem to the rest of this group.