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Why we should not trust Governments on Biometrics 

מאת    [ 24/04/2008 ]

מילים במאמר: 1093   [ נצפה 3638 פעמים ]


On November 2007 (UK) HMRC's loses data for 25 million people records held on two CDs include biometrics information. "The loss was evidence that the government can not be trusted with biometric information, and that the proposed national ID scheme was untenable" said FBI fraud expert and world-renowned ex-con artist Frank Abagnale. A month later more than 3 million U.K. learner drivers have gone missing from a firm in the U.S., the government has admitted.... In Israel, during the last elections, the ministry of interior experienced loss of the entire population registration book, comprised all the Israeli population from birth to death, include ID numbers, addresses, names, birthdays, immigration, gender, family relations etc. The invaluable searchable book can be downloaded, freely from the net (acts committed by children under the age of 15 years that are not punishable). The police authorities, needless to say are helpless and may not completely understand the damages to privacy and to personal security. Just think, what would happen if something, should happen to biometrics records? Biometrics collections are harming and putting in danger our liberty and privacy, and are not protecting us from crime and terror. The accuracy of fingerprints for example is only 99% (every 1% error is 10,000 mistakes per million, in 50M records it comes to 500,000 MISTAKES PER SINGLE SCAN - 50M people is less then 16% of the U.S. total Population...). A person provides a sample biometric, sometimes without his knowledge, and the system must compare that sample to every stored record to attempt to return a match. This is known as a one-to-many match (otherwise we cannot find criminals - we are NOT criminals we are free humans beings living in a so called "benevolent democracy"), and is done without any corroborating data. Because the matching process is based on the closeness of the new sample to a stored sample, most systems return a likely list of matches... Hence any unique biometric sample, whether a fingerprint, voice recording, or iris scan, is not matched from the raw data. There is too much data to store and compare during each attempted match, especially if the sample needs to be transmitted to a central database for matching(???) which requires a lot of authorizations (unsecured) otherwise this information need to be decentralized (very unsecured), Instead, biometric systems use templates. The raw data is simplified through feature extraction. Face recognition systems need the most number of features to be extracted and hand scans need the least. The extracted features are compressed further into a sample template which is then compared to a stored template to determine if there is a match. (Huge error rate) Information is lost with each level of compression making it impossible to reconstruct the original scan from the extracted points. Since even minor changes in the way a sample is collected (different scanners and manufactures) can create a different template for a single individual, matches are based on probability. Systems are adjustable to the amount of difference they will tolerate to confirm a match. As the collection database is getting bigger the efficiency of catching criminals id getting lower, Because of this, the accuracy of all biometric systems diminishes over time. Therefore - Our privacy and liberty are getting sacrificed to stupidity!

Once a system is created, new uses are usually found for it, and those uses are not likely to stop at the border, as we can learn from the British police and their leads for investigations using naive social networking as Facebook (NY Times: April 18, 2008), imagine what they do with our privacy rights using our unique and intrinsic biometrics collections? In a biometric system, the question is: Whether the individual can trust the system? Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding, NO. Individuals must not trust the system.

Biometrics are automated methods of recognizing a person based on a unique physiological or behavioral characteristic. Some of the features include measurements of face, fingerprints, handwriting, hand geometry, iris, retinal, vein, and voice. Invasive Biometric technology is now the foundation of a secure identification and intrinsic personal information data collection system maintained by DEMOCRATIC governments worldwide...

The information is uploaded for various purposes to be utilized by numerous governmental agencies for verification and distribution, all under the premise of "increasing security". In 1903 NY State Prison began fingerprinting prisoners for security purposes and since then the governments are systematically proposed various schemes to collect information on the citizenry. The Judicial Branch in several states has ruled against mass collection of personal information as a violation of personal privacy. In Perkey v. Department of Motor Vehicles (1986) the Supreme Court of California ruled that, "The collection of fingerprints for ... unspecified and widespread usage infringes on individual privacy rights."

Fingerprints, facial geometry, and retinal scans and the communication thereof are protected under the right to liberty and property which is a basic understanding of the US Constitution which has been backed by 200 years of case law, protecting these basic human rights. The government's stance is that "the war on terror has prompted the need for increased security measures". When the citizenry allows blatant violations of basic Civil Liberties it is the death of Democracy. In Politics Aristotle said, "The basis for a democratic state is liberty".

We must save our liberty and privacy, for democratic system and state Biometrics Collection is an ominous risk of extinction.

About the author: Michael (Micha) Shafir - CTO, Inventor, security expert, seasoned entrepreneur (RadWare, MagniFire, PonsEye, PonsHoldings - Technology Greenhouse, CrossID, Innovya)

About INNOVYA: One of the most crucial questions in any transaction is the identity of the entity (person) with whom the transaction is being conducted. Historically, personal relationships, face-to-face contract signings, notaries, and third party counsel are used to help establish trust in this most important aspect of conducting our business. As the reliance on paper shifts to electronic transactions and documents, so must the reliance on traditional trust factors shift to electronic security measures to authenticate before engaging in the exchange of information, goods, and services. Similarly, the need for confidentiality and confidence in the integrity of exchanged information is critical. Many other applications in everyday life also require user authentication, such as banking, e-commerce, and physical access control to computer resources, and could benefit from enhanced security. Innovya Research & Development has developed a new Traceless Biometrics Solution protected by a patent that enabling secure transactions without storage of unique biometric information and still can clearly authenticates user's identity

מיכאל (מיכה) שפיר משמש כטכנולוג מדען ראשי ויזם במספר רב של חברות היי טק העוסקות בעיקר ברשתות תקשורת, אבטחת מידע, ציוד רפואי, ומחקרים ביו טכנולוגים.

Michael (Micha) Shafir - CTO, founder, seasoned entrepreneur (RadWare, MagniFire, PonsEye, Pons - Technology GreenHouse , CrossID, Innovations'Center), Inventor

Email: micha@Innovya.com
Direct: +972 54 4837900

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