Homeland Security to Start Testing Iris Recognition
It seems biometric security technologies are a double edged sword– they will make the country safer, but at what cost to our civil liberties?
The United States Department of Homeland Security recently announced its intentions to test a variety of commercially available iris scanners over a two-week period this month. Arun Vemury, program manager for the Homeland Security Department’s Science and Technology branch, says that the tests will help in determining the potential viability of the technology for department use.
They plan to test a new version of cameras which can capture iris images from a distance of 6 feet at a border patrol station in McAllen, Texas. The new systems can scan from a greater distance and is even able to scan as people pass by. The plan is to test the technology on illegal immigrants, and while it’s a potentially explosive policy, this is nothing new for the government.
In 2007 the US Military began collecting iris scans from thousands of Iraqi citizens in order to keep track of suspected militants. The technology has been employed in US airports as well, identifying passengers in the “registered traveler program” between 2005 and 2008, the perk being passengers in the program could jump to the beginning of security lines.
Not surprisingly, the new technology has made for some interesting debate and has warranted objections by the American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations. Christopher Calabrese, a lawyer of the ACLU with concerns that the cameras might be used without the public’s knowledge. He brings up the point that all that would be needed to physically track a person is a camera and connection to the Internet. This would make it easy to identify anyone from a distance without them even knowing.
Financial companies are also in on the new testing with the industry-wide assumption that iris scanning is going to revolutionize banking fraud protection altogether. There is a delicate line between protection and privacy invasion that is leaving most people wary of what’s to come. On the other hand, there are those of us who are excited about the major advancements that are being made in the field of biometric technology.
Homeland Security to test iris scanners
- Iris Recognition: Biometric Security in Mexico
- Iris Recognition: There’s No Escape with New Security Cameras
- Iris Recognition Finds Support at U.S. State Department
- Iris Recognition is Advancing. Could It Help Eye Tracking?
- Beware of Problems With Iris Recognition
- Some Interesting Questions for Iris Recognition
- Iris Recognition: The Fingerprint of the Eye
- Can Iris Recognition do away with PIN’s and Passwords?
- Iris Recognition at a Greater Distance
- Iris Scanning Goes Big