Wednesday, December 26, 2007

FBI Builds Database of People’s Physical Characteristics

The Washington Post reports the FBI is embarking on a $1 billion effort to build the world’s largest computer database of peoples" physical characteristics including digital images of faces, fingerprints, palm patterns, iris patterns and other biometric information. The project will give the government unprecedented abilities to identify individuals in the United States and abroad. The FBI will also retain, upon request by employers, the fingerprints of workers who have undergone criminal background checks so the employers can be notified if employees have brushes with the law. The plan is drawing criticism from those who worry that people’s bodies will become de facto national identification cards. Barry Steinhardt of the American Civil Liberties Union said: “It’s going to be an essential component of tracking. It’s enabling the Always On Surveillance Society.”

Source: Democracy Now, December 26, 2007

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