Government

FBI to construct massive biometrics database

At a price of $1 billion, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is undertaking construction of a biometric database that will store a lot more information on individuals including fingerprints, facial characteristics, sound patterns, iris, ear lobe, and palm prints.

At a price of $1 billion, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is undertaking construction of a biometric database that will store a lot more information on individuals including fingerprints, facial characteristics, sound patterns, iris, ear lobe, and palm prints.

An excerpt from Ars Technica:

Moving forward, the FBI expects to make this comprehensive biometric database available to a wide variety of federal, state, and local agencies, all in the name of keeping American safe from terrorists (and illegal immigration). The FBI also intends to retain (upon employer request) the fingerprints of any employee who has undergone a criminal background check, and will inform the employer if the employee is ever arrested or charged with a crime.

The database is being developed in collaboration with the Center for Identification Technology Research (CITeR) at West Virginia University. Physical characteristics such as scars, walking and talking styles will also be stored to identify individuals. The technology is supposed to make possible the detection of individuals from a distance of 200 yards (facial recognition).

The Next Generation Identification System, as the new project is called, seeks to provide real time comparison and follows several such projects under the FBI's aegis.

Questions remain on the availability of mechanisms for addressing misinterpretations in the system and its effect on civil liberties. The always-on surveillance society is becoming a reality.

More details:

FBI plans to expand biometric operations in state (DailyMail)

FBI Aims For World's Largest Biometrics Database (InformationWeek)

72 comments
deepsand
deepsand

How cute & exciting.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'm still stuck on the idea that primary defense is done by the machines directly control by the central computer which in itself is designed to avoid becoming a tool of an oppressive majority. With there science and tech advancing much faster than the surrounding nations who've focused on the repressive technology and separating the population into inefficient individual companies. It would be interesting if it where possible for us both to sit down with the author and pick through the two branches he dreamed up. I also need to give the story another read through as it's been a while and it's not fresh enough in my own mind to really get into the details and provide the same level of analysis your offering. I'm probably allowing too many questions to be answered with suspension of disbelief and scope of the story content.

deepsand
deepsand

As for defense, it should be obvious that any defense forces [b]must[/b] be free of the control which is excercised over the rest of the population with respect to agressive behavior. And, therefore, that said force itself would pose a potential threat to the long term viability of such a society unless said force itself was controlled in a manner similar to the general populace, such that its members would be precluded from physically entering or materially affecting any area either occupied by the general populace, or those essential to the continued production of goods/services for said population and/or control of the behavior of its individual members. Thus, by necessity, there would be 2 distinct classes of citizens, each forcibly segregated from the other. In all likelihood, it would eventually happen that members of the warrior class, sufficiently desirous of securing some of what the civilian class possessed, would in fact succeed in breaching the boundaries between the 2. Given a sufficient passage of time, the likely outcomes would be either that the warrior class prevailed, or the civilian class would be left with no defense against external threats. Therefore, the only way that such a utopia could survive in the long run would be for it to encompass the entire world. Until, that is, Earth were to be visited by extra-terrestrials. As for the YouTube link, I've started to intermittently listen to/look at it while typing this, but I don't have the time for all of it now, so I'll be re-visiting it at a later time.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It seems fitting that I was watching this when I check the forums and have it in the background still. http://youtube.com/watch?v=hFSPHfZQpIQ Anyhow, I think the author's point was the contrast between oppressive and enabling technology but there is a lot of interesting things to explore about the utopia he sets up including defense. Policing is covered and works; a central self programming computer has ultimate control of the robot police and the "freeze button" within each person's cybernetic implant. If I remember correctly, the central computer is hard coded with the basic morality (four freedoms as it where) but self monitoring and programming other than that so it's able to detect and correct cracking attempts. That provides the control against abuse of the central controller. One of the things mentioned also was the rate at which research could proceed in a truly open and colaborative society. That explains the cybernetics and advanced medical capabilities. Being sci fi, it also explains advancement in other areas. External threat defense is not covered I don't think. They do mention that the small colony that bought some land from the Australian government was successful enough an experiment that the government joins them so there you have the Ausie military support along with that. With that from distant memory, a bit of sci if suspension of disbelief I'd speculate that you have the military and advanced science providing the outer boundaries. Really, I think the author was going for an exploration of open source methodology applied daily living rather than just code mashing. It does setup a nice base for a sci fi setting to explore though but it is still not scripture. I just thought it provided a nice good and bad potential future to contrast against the doom and gloom vchip propaganda.

deepsand
deepsand

Under the command-and-control system described in the story, clearly a tyranny of the majority is certainly possible. It is this particular aspect that I find most troubling. Notably absent from the work was any mention re. how said society might defend itself against those who might forceably attempt to avail themselves of its resources.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It's been a while since I read it and thought it would present more of a summary on it's own. It wasn't too long a read though was it? I did think it presented the good and bad potential outcomes of the propaganda videos posted earlier in the thread. I see the gilded cage angle. At least in the utopian ending, technology is more of an enabling element rather than a repressive tool. As enabling and freeing as it can be without placing one person's "rights" above another's. Maybe it's just from reading too much cyberpunk type stuff growing up. In the repressive use, it's a little too possible a future with the pervasiveness of technology and corporate law requiring the shareholder's bottom line above any other morality. Outside of the corporation, all you need do is scare the population into believing they need your new laws. As for sci fi futures, the society in the last of the 2001 series of books is probably the most apealing I've seen so far. It has it's own odd quirks but it comes closest to this stories utopia without making cybernetics required for normal interaction.

deepsand
deepsand

And, clear all non-essential cookies regularly.

deepsand
deepsand

But, next time you might give fair warning that one's about to get hooked into devoting more time than should be devoted at the moment to such a diversion. As for the story, I find the utopian ending a bit less than it appears, given that the protagonist has still surrendered his will to that of the machine, and become no more than a bird in a gilded cage.

deepsand
deepsand

Perhaps you need to get out more.

deepsand
deepsand

Perhaps if you stopped using "it," you might make some sense.

Absolutely
Absolutely

If you mean this one... "I reserve suspicion in the meanwhile that he has gone off the deep end about some finite or another." ...your assumptions are your problem. Let norin.radd stand up to you, if he gives a rip about your opinion.

santeewelding
santeewelding

See right through it, don't you. 'Cepting the very last.

Absolutely
Absolutely

...he says [b]to himself[/b]. [i]There seems to be something about (his) shorthand. It would indicate some great [b]conversation with himself[/b], one he has not gotten round to sharing in plain words. I reserve suspicion in the meanwhile that he has gone off the deep end about some finite or another.[/i] Joozu des yoo, santeewelding.

santeewelding
santeewelding

I elided "too" in what would have read "too much with," as in the common expression, "too much with (yourself)." Even with elision, done to blunt any appearance of attack, I may have appeared thus, rather than to gently tease from norin.radd his own appraisal. I half hope he responds, and to you both as well, abs and neon. There seems to be something about (his) shorthand. It would indicate some great conversation with himself, one he has not gotten round to sharing in plain words. I reserve suspicion in the meanwhile that he has gone off the deep end about some finite or another.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

We're all whackjobs in our own ways so I'm not about to hold that against him especially being a Nehong local (though very likely not Bushi). Still making my mind up too. I think he has some good ideas once I figure out what decryptor to plug into the decoder ring. ;D

Absolutely
Absolutely

...if you pay close enough attention through a few replies, they start to make sense, approximately 3-5 back, estimated average. Sometimes, they're worth the effort. If you figure out how to understand what norin.radd means, please explain me; if I ever figure it out, I'll do likewise.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

honest question. I was trying to follow this thread but I'm completely lost on how the last two comments string together and how weight ratio became people either being for or against IT.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I had a friend who made a hobby of collecting propoganda pamphlets for a while. He had a stack of vchip mark of the beast ones. Actually, this may be of interest. It's a fictional story written a while back as a sort of social study of the FOSS development method and exploration of the possible outcome of technology. It's a short read and very much worth some thought (as all good sci fi tends to be). http://marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm I rather like the contrast of the oppressive use of technology (our Western approach and the usual portrayal of the future) versus the use of freeing human growth through technology. The vchip propaganda would be part of the first usage.

norin.radd
norin.radd

We are all in IT together either you want IT or not.. IT is not a question of weight ratio...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

.. or youtube.. and that means from both sides

Xwindowsjunkie
Xwindowsjunkie

Somebody characterized the biometric FBI database as the krufiest etc. No it will be the best the NSA can come up with. Please note that the database was going to be a "shared" database. That includes the CIA, the DEA and the NSA etc. They want the best data they can get so it will be the best relational database you can imagine. The piece of legislation that enabled all this is the so-called "Patriot Act". Orwell's 1984 doesn't begin to cover the ways we will soon be covered by surveillance. In a few years, cheating on your taxes might be deemed a "terrorist act"!

norin.radd
norin.radd

Wake-Up Sonja Thompson this biometric db is not about keeping Americans safe from terrorists and illegal immigration its about the total enslavement and control of the US citizen. ViVa the AMERO, the EURO and a CHIP population. KooL (O_o)

jjleggieri
jjleggieri

HaHa, HaHa, HaHa, HaHa, HaHa, HaHa, HaHa,HaHa.

deepsand
deepsand

start using your left one.

deepsand
deepsand

1) Sonja is [b]not the author[/b] of the article; rather, she is a TR staff member whose blog hosted the post under discussion. 2) The author expressed [b]no opinion[/b] re. the subject matter, but simply reported the facts as known to him. To judge either of these people according to your approval or dis-approval of the topic reported on is both illogical and unwarranted.

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

I was rolling up my sleeves after reading that original comment, but I see that you handled it nicely. Thanks for having my back.

seanferd
seanferd

u r ++ 1337 haXor You are taunting the some of the most vocal proponents of freedom around here

deepsand
deepsand

How many times have you been told to [i]strictly[/i] follow your doctor's orders?

deepsand
deepsand

BTW, are we still on for the weekend?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

please turn your numlock off and restate your case.

norin.radd
norin.radd

deep7hr047, you are so HOLDSCHOOL, it's like you just came out from a Win95 nightmare... Wake up 8LU35CR33N it's 2008. One World Government is knocking at your door noob3r comment on the that instead 5m4r7-455 (O_o) & for you 9onja it's definitely the 420 times to roll up some leafs... Your SUCH a noob ((+_+))

robertcass123
robertcass123

dudes some 18 year old got that techno stuff in his basemant right now

robertcass123
robertcass123

dudes some 18 year old got that techno stuff in his basemant right now

jjleggieri
jjleggieri

You know what? You are probably right.

merlin38092
merlin38092

Great :( While I can see the positive abilities here, I am still worried about allowing a corrupt and not-nearly-regulated-enough group of people having access to this. Now the government will have the fingerprints and dna of every citizen they want. This will give them the ability to frame anyone for anything that they want. This is just another move towards a police state

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

after a while it will become cheap enuf to actually sequence your genome if they want to. At that point, they will store either an original sample or the digital sequence of it, and be able to replicate this with PCR or with sequence synthesizer machines. This way they will be able to frame you for something by planting your DNA at the scene. e.g. the Startrek Enterprise episode where teh Vulcan high council frames that vulcan gal's mom for an embassy bombing by planting her cloned DNA on the bomb

normhaga
normhaga

1. There are cases on record in which police and prosecutors have forged evidence, supposedly as reliable as finger print, to obtain convictions. 2. If you go this far why not include the typing patterns of people as well. 3. What stops the DB from being hacked and information altered or removed.

jjleggieri
jjleggieri

I'll bet there are a lot of paranoid people, criminals and Civil Liberty Lawyers thinking the same thing.

deepsand
deepsand

the continued gradual erosion of Civil Liberties. Clearly you are not one of such.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

From my understand this has never been subject to proper Scientific Study. It is just something accepted as right because it's been used for so long that it can not be questioned in a Court. I also remember a case where DNA evidence was the only evidence available where the Investigating Offers Manufactured DNA Evidence. In that case the police used a Blood Sample from the victim of an assault to attempt to convict the so called guilty party. On Appeal it was found that the So Called Indisputable DNA Evidence actually contained 2 DNA Samples. The accused was convicted on this evidence and on Appeal it was found that the Victim had a Blood Transfusion and the Blood Stains used to convict was only available after the transfusion was administered. The problem here was that the DNA evidence was never questioned and just accepted as [b]Fact.[/b] Col

normhaga
normhaga

A finger has between 500 and 5000 lines on it; in this country only 7 points of similarity are needed to assert that it is the same print. This seems, from a probabilistic view, to be a wide margin for error. On the other hand, the various, uhmm authorities, claim that in the history of fingerprinting there have never been two identical prints submitted by different people. I don't know what comparison method is used to assert that claim though. The DNA issue you mentioned is spot on. At the risk of starting a hate campaign and flame war, this is also one of the things that happened in the OJ Simpson case. The difference is that he was found not guilty in the lower criminal court and guilty by the civil court and popular people court who did not have all the facts available to form an opinion, nor the sense to question what the news media presented or how. Simply put, I am against all 'Big Brother' attempts and believe in maximum freedom for all people and strongly support questioning anything the government or news media tells you.

deepsand
deepsand

Welcome to the few, the shamed, the mindless.

deepsand
deepsand

It is not for you to decide who the rest of us shall trust. If need be, I'll gladly exercise my 2nd Amendment Right to stop you from trampling on the others. "[i]He who would give up a small essential freedom for a little temporary security is a scoundrel, and deserves neither freedom nor security.[/i]" - Benjamin Franklin

Absolutely
Absolutely

[i]But, if you don't have anything to hide, so what. You are on camera a bunch of times every day. Your eMail is scanned, they have access to any electronic data anyone has about you. There may be info about you posted on the internet about you that you don't even know about. [b]If it assists in keeping our kids safe, use it[/b].[/i] If "keeping our kids safe" is invoked -- what? Nothing, that's what. [b]All[/b] laws should protect life, liberty, and the right to free pursuit of happiness. Children may require special protection, which should be primarily the duty of their parents, not an excuse to legislate away my right to be free of unreasonable [b]search[/b] & seizure, which does include surveillance without reasonable suspicion, absolutely. [i]And the thing about government programmers, there are som very good dedicated ones out there. I've seen the results of there work, I really would worry about that part. And if you are better at it, help out![/i] If you want my help you pay me.

jjleggieri
jjleggieri

Everyone is crying about their rights, you sound like Rodney King. Take your head out of the sand. Someone once told me when the Miranda Rights was enacted, "That the criminals now have more rights that the ordinary citizen". You know what? He was right. BTW, what have you ever done for your country?

jjleggieri
jjleggieri

What a Brainiac, anyone with whom you disagree is a moron. then I guess I am. I guess you are an unemployed PhD. Well Dr. do you really think that the Government doesn't have any good programmers? Guess again, A.H. Contact the Fleet and Material Support Office (FMSO) in Mechanicsberg Pa. or the Naval Ships Engineering Station (NAVSESS) in Philadelphia, to see what they do to keep you free and able to call people a moron. Grow up twit!

Absolutely
Absolutely

You're not entitled to conduct surveillance of any kind without reasonable suspicion, and neither are your worthless friends, moron. [i]And the thing about government programmers, there are som very good dedicated ones out there. I've seen the results of there work, I really would worry about that part.[/i] F7, moron.

deepsand
deepsand

the same of others. There are those of use who have an abiding interest in [b]not[/b] being blind sheep.

normhaga
normhaga

you > "if you don't have anything to hide, so what." Unfortunately, this is a line used to get you to allow a warrant less search of your car, back yard, house, secured storage, server room, etc. and is used to trap the unwary who can not keep track of the 100,000's of laws on the books. If you choose to so freely give up your constitutional right, power to you. I choose to try to keep mine in the face of sheeple.

jjleggieri
jjleggieri

It will be a,"Big Brother" thing run by the Government. But, if you don't have anything to hide, so what. You are on camera a bunch of times every day. Your eMail is scanned, they have access to any electronic data anyone has about you. There may be info about you posted on the internet about you that you don't even know about. If it assists in keeping our kids safe, use it. And the thing about government programmers, there are som very good dedicated ones out there. I've seen the results of there work, I really would worry about that part. And if you are better at it, help out!

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