[ISN] Not All See Eye to Eye on Biometrics

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Sat May 02 1998 - 14:39:19 PDT

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    Forwarded From: Aleph One <aleph1at_private>
    Los Angeles Times
                                                 Wednesday, April 29, 1998
    Not All See Eye to Eye on Biometrics 
    Security: Lower prices may bring fingerprint or iris
    scanners to the corner bank or market. Critics fear loss of privacy
    and theft of the information.
    By ERIC SLATER, Times Staff Writer 
    In the papillary loops and whorls on the human fingertip, one of
    nature's lovelier and more mystical truths kept itself hidden for
    eons. Only a century ago did scientists discover that no two
    fingerprints are alike.
         In recent decades, science has learned that the rest of the human
    body is equally uniquethe scattered specks of color in the eye, the
    timbre and tenor of a voice, the gradations of heat rising from a
    Wilma Jean Tinto of Century Bank scans her fingerprint on the ID system.
    For years, though, devices designed to recognize such minute anatomical
    signaturesfrom facial thermographs to body odor sensorswere found mostly
    in Defense Department laboratories, spy novels and movies. 
         Now, with increasingly accurate and affordable biometric devices
    beginning to appear in such unexotic places as suburban banks, welfare
    offices and grocery stores, their practical applications are finally
    being tested.
         So, too, are issues of security and privacy, with the frontier of
    civil liberties likely to move beyond random drug testing to include
    the fingerprinting of employees and the electronic mapping of
    automated teller machine customers' eyeballs. Such practices, critics
    suggest, could violate laws governing everything from search and
    seizure to equal protection.
         A California Assembly bill seeks to regulate the use of biometric
    devices and datathe first such proposed legislation in the country.
    Supported by the unlikely alliance of the nonprofit Center for Law in
    the Public Interest and the California Bankers Assn., the bill would
    make trafficking in biometric information a crime and, among other
    things, mandate that if a bank installs, say, fingerprint scanners, it
    must put them in all branches, not just those in poor neighborhoods.
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