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Biometrics at the Statue of Liberty 452

Posted by michael
from the oh-the-irony dept.
gurps_npc writes "There is an interesting CNN article about the Statue of Liberty finally opening again (it was closed since 9/11 for security reasons). They have increased security to 'airport levels', and offer lockers for people to rent, partly to keep those incredibly dangerous objects like swiss army knives away from the fragile Statue of Liberty. But instead of keys, the lockers use fingerprint readers to open and close (approximately one reader for every 50 lockers)." The article notes that the design was dictated by the Transportation Security Administration.
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Biometrics at the Statue of Liberty

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  • by way2trivial (601132) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:17AM (#9948980) Homepage Journal
    would any sufficiently swirly object work?
    a knuckle for example?
  • Freedom? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:18AM (#9948988)
    "What no one seemed to notice was the ever widening gap between the government and the people...And it became always wider...

    "The whole process of this disconnect coming into being was built around diversion...

    "Nazism gave us some other dreadful, fundamental things to think about ...or, rather, provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway...

    "Nazism kept us so busy with continuous changes, accusations and 'crises' and so fascinated ... by the machinations of the 'national enemies' without and within) and the government's 'responses' to them, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us...

    "Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, 'regretted', that unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these 'little measures' must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing...

    "Each act curtailing freedom... is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow...

    "You don't want to act, or even talk, alone... you don't want to 'go out of your way to make trouble' or be 'unpatriotic'...But the one great shocking
    occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes...

    "That's the difficulty. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring: the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit (which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms) is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. ...

    "You have accepted things you would not have accepted five years ago, a year ago, things your father... could never have imagined."

    Source: They Thought They Were Free, The Germans, 1938-45 (Chicago: University
    of Chicago Press, 1955)
    __________________________________

    "We will not wait as our enemies gather strength against us. In the world we have entered, the only path to safety is the path of action, and this nation will act." G.W.Bush, West Point, June 2002

    "In this new world, declarations of war serve no purpose. Our enemies must be defeated before they can harm us. I will never declare war, but will take action!" Adolph Hitler, June 1940

    "Not too many people will be crying in their beer if there are more detentions, more stops and more profiling. There will be a groundswell of public opinion to banish civil rights," Peter Kirsanow, Bush's controversial appointee the U.S.
    Commission on Civil Rights

    "I tell you, freedom and human rights in America are doomed. The U.S. government will lead the American people, and the West in general, into an unbearable hell and a choking life."
    Osama bin Laden, October, 2001
    • Very well put, the quotes put it in perspective wonderfully. I wish I had mod points to mod you up!
    • Re:Freedom? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ackthpt (218170) * on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:34AM (#9949233) Homepage Journal
      "there ought to be limits to freedom" -- George W. Bush

      Guess he's showing us, huh?

      • Re:Freedom? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Stevyn (691306) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @12:10PM (#9949742)
        That quote sounds bad in that context, but freedom must have limits or else it impedes on other people's freedoms. You shouldn't be free to fly planes in buildings. You shouldn't be free to oppress millions of people. That quote in it's proper context is the foundation of America. Freedom to do as you wish but not hurting others in the process to a point they lose their freedoms.
        • Re:Freedom? (Score:3, Informative)

          by KarMann (121054)
          Yeah, but in that context, he was talking about a web domain (I think either whitehouse.com or gwbush.com, or something like that) that mocked him, and his campaign was trying to have the domain reassigned to him by the courts. That's not exactly the kind of pressing concern that should require amending our First Amendment rights (you listening, Jerry Falwell [slashdot.org]?).
    • Re:Freedom? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by christopherfinke (608750) <chris@efinke.com> on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:46AM (#9949406) Homepage Journal
      "Is it time for supper?" Adolf Hitler, June 1940

      "I would like to eat now." Osama bin Laden, October 2001

      "What's for dinner?" John Kerry, June 2004

      See how easy it is to connect random people with out-of-context quotes?
      • Re:Freedom? (Score:3, Funny)

        by Stevyn (691306)
        "I'm John Kerry, and I'm reporting for dinner" John Kerry, August 11, 2004

        "Shut up" Teresa Heinz Kerry, August 11, 2004
      • Re:Freedom? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Amtiskaw (591171) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @12:12PM (#9949761)
        Yes. In this case you've showed an accurate connection, that all three individuals are connected through their consumation of foodstuffs, with no requirement for contextual information. I'm not exactly sure why anyone would care about this particular demonstrated connection though?

        Personally, I'd be far more concerned about the kind of connection through political opinion and rhetoric displayed in the parent post, but you can keep banging on that "all evil people eat food" thepry if you like.
    • Re:Freedom? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 1000101 (584896)
      When people (like you) insert quotes from someone next to a similar quote from someone else who is known as an evil person, it shows that person's lack of reasoning. Quotes have to be taken in context, and by simply putting them next to each other, the reader has no idea of the circumstances when they were said. What you are trying to do is use similar quotes to illustrate your belief that Bush shares the same views as Hitler. This couldn't be further from the truth. It is almost as if you took lessons
      • Re:Freedom? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by demachina (71715) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @01:06PM (#9950527)
        Your assertion is usually true but in this case these two quotes aren't really being taken out of context:

        "We will not wait as our enemies gather strength against us. In the world we have entered, the only path to safety is the path of action, and this nation will act." G.W.Bush, West Point, June 2002

        "In this new world, declarations of war serve no purpose. Our enemies must be defeated before they can harm us. I will never declare war, but will take action!" Adolph Hitler, June 1940

        They carry most of their context with them. The only thing different are the specific enemies they were facing. For Hitler it was communism, Jews and the powers that humiliated Germany at Versailles. For George W. its pretty much anybody who isn't in the "with us" column in "you are either with us or against" though in particular its Islamic extremists.

        They are both saying they have enemies and they will use preemptive, aggressive warfare to eliminate them before they can strike. Not sure what context you could put around these two statements that would make them not mean the same thing.

        Enemies from without or within, whether they be real, imagined or manufactured are probably the oldest tool for expanding the power of a government over its people. If people feel threatened or endangered they will usually sacrifice just about anything to be safe. The people in Germany did sacrifice everything but in the end it didn't lead to safety.

        The key questions American's need to ask themselves today and aren't:

        - how much are you willing to sacrifice to be "safe".
        - are the sacrifices you're making actually resulting in improved safety.

        Unfortunately many of the insane measurements being taken by an out of control government in Washington are, at the end of the day, more smoke and mirrors than real improvements.

        If the sacrifices you are making are making you "safe" then you just need to ask yourself is it worth it.

        If the sacrifices you are making aren't really make you much safer then why should you be making them.

        A simple example, the way to prevent another 9/11 was extraordinarily simple. You put armored cockpit doors in all airliners. It cost a few million dollars and it didn't trample any civil liberties. Sure highjackers might still be able to take over the passanger compartment or blow up the plane but if you want to live in a free society you need to accept there are some risks. You make modest improvements in screening passengers and baggage if you want to minimize them. But instead your government responded to 9/11 with measures that were extraordinarily disruptive, expensive and trampled civil liberties in a major way. They border on making flying so unappealing people start to avoid it, especially if you fly to the U.S. from another country. At that point the measures to improve safety have surpassed the break even point, you would prefer being a little less safe so flying wont be so onerous that you stop doing it.

        They are doing the same thing in their response to years old video footage found on suspected Al Qaeda. Rather than quietly tightening security on the targets and seek to foil any plots, instead they used them as a mechanism for pumping fear in the American people. In the process they tipped off Al Qaeda in a major way to the fact one of their networks was compromised which is just really bad intelligence work no matter how you look at it. They key benefit they got out of it though is they were able to use it as an excuse to further expand their self granted authority to randomly stop people both on the street and on the highways to engage in what would otherwise be illegal searches. You know you are in a police state when you can't drive down the highway without the risk of hitting a checkpoint where you are going to be ID'ed, searched and potentially detained for thouroughly vague reasons.
    • Re:Freedom? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by whorfin (686885)
      Yay, Godwin's law [wikipedia.org] is proven yet again!
  • by ack154 (591432) * on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:18AM (#9949006)
    Others forgot their locker number upon their return, or didn't remember which finger they had used to check it out.
    That would be my worry. At least with oldschool lockers, you would get a big fat key with a number on it, so you knew what was yours. Unfortunately, there's no mention if there's a receipt printed out or anything with a locker number and/or time on it or something.
    • by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:22AM (#9949061) Homepage Journal
      I wouldn't have any trouble remembering which finger I used . . .

      -Peter
    • Once you come back and scan, your locker will unlock.. Shouldn't be hard to tell yours from all the other locked ones.

      They have passcode style ones at the mall here, but it isn't hard to tell which locker is yours.. As soon as you enter your code you can here the door unlock.
      • While I agree that this may be sufficient for you or I... I do believe that many people will not realize the connection. Think of how many people you know have very little common sense or may not even hear it?

        Though, I wonder if it would display it on the screen? The picture in the article showed a screen there, so it would probably tell you which locker on that screen, right??
  • by Elecore (784561) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:18AM (#9949007) Homepage
    As long as they don't connect your fingerprint to your name on site, then I don't mind being checked against a terrorist database. I'm not a terrorist. If they stored my fingerprint afterwards and kept it connected to my name, then yes, of course I'd be against it, but I HIGHLY doubt this happens.
    • I bet you money they have that checking against a database of fingerprints of wanted or suspect criminals of the state.

      what an elegant way of secretly checking fingerprints!

      If it's not that way right now, it will be shortly.. it took me 30 seconds to think this up, I'm sure there is a NSA guy drooling over the idea already.
    • However, prints are being run through terrorist watch lists in the biggest deployment of biometrics yet -- the federal government's new system for tracking foreign travelers.

      Now in its early stages, the program, known as US-VISIT, calls for visitors to go through biometric scans to ensure that they are who their visa or passport says they are. Passports issued by the United States and other countries are getting new chips that will have facial-recognition data, and other biometrics might be added.

      Read t

    • by Armchair Dissident (557503) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:54AM (#9949489) Homepage
      The problem with that particular line of reasoning is that if you're not a terrorist there's no guarantee that you won't be fingered if the system thinks you're a terrorist. Fingerprint scanning - like all forms of identification - is imperfect, and like all imperfect systems its prone to false positives as well as false negatives.

      It's not whether you are a terrorist or not, it's whether the system identifies you as a terrorist.

      As an example: a case in south africa [guardian.co.uk] not so long ago, a British man was held for 21 days by South African authorities at the request of the FBI, because they mistakenly believed they "had their man". Imagine now that a system as falsely trusted as fingerprint scanning marks you - an innocent man - as a terrorist - the current bogey man. Your stay in a holding cell could well be beyond 21 days!

      Of course, this is overlooking the fact that it would appear that these scanners are not likely to be linked to any central database!
    • If they stored my fingerprint afterwards and kept it connected to my name, then yes, of course I'd be against it, but I HIGHLY doubt this happens.

      I highly doubt this DOEN'T happen.
      In fact, I'm pretty sure they keep that fingerprint stored with a few choice pictures from the security cameras, while they're at it. What? You think there's no cameras?

      Wait for it, in a few years, this fingerprint "news" will come out, and you'll be surprised.

      I don't mind being checked against a terrorist database. I'm not a
  • by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:19AM (#9949015) Homepage Journal
    I'm glad they've finally reopened the monument. I've good memories of it. In fact, the last time I was inside a woman, I was visiting the Statue of Liberty.

    -- ...stolen from Woody Allen...
  • by Amberlock (27439) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:19AM (#9949016) Homepage
    Are they afraid that someone is going to hijack the statue and fly it into a building?
    • well it does have rocket boosters underneath it so could happen :P

      In other news the golden gate bridge has just walked to Japan..
    • Well since access to the crown is no longer permitted using a large NES controller to walk the Statue over to the city is probably not going to happen.

      If they do happen to do it they might want to pad her feet. A lot of advancements have occured in the size of sneakers since Spangler and Ray decided to use this method back in the 1990s.
    • Yeah, airport security makes sense at airports not statues. Talk about not thinking out of the box.
  • Statue eh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kenja (541830) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:19AM (#9949021)
    Well let me be the first to say

    Yout maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you! God damn you all to Hell!

  • honest question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Spytap (143526) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:19AM (#9949024)
    What if you just push your knuckel against the reader, does it just read the patterns on whatever is placed against it or does it know whether the opbject on top of it is a fingerprint or not?
    • I'm not sure on just the fingerprint scanners.

      Some of the "full-hand-type" biometric readers take a multitude of inital measurments, only a portion are used for each scan. Some will measure width of the palm, length of fingers, lines in the hands and/or fingers, etc. A multitude of things.

      My guess would be that it will scan whatever you give it, so long as it recognizes SOMETHING is there. Now as for allowing access, thats another matter

  • It's a sad day indeed when these measures are being taken at the Statue of Liberty. Unfortunately, I think we've crossed the line into a new age of insecurity within the US. It's something many other parts of the world have lived with for quite a while, but it's now a difficult reality here.
  • I don't get it. Just like many other places, a reasonable, non-intrusive technology is being used to compare visitors to a list of known problem people. It's an attractive target, and would mean a lot to the terrorists to blow up. I don't see a problem with using this as a way to deter that.

    Additionally, this is a pretty nifty use of biometric technology, to key the person's fingerprint to locking & opening a locker. I'd think the implementation of such a system would be more on-topic for Slashdot
    • You expect a story in YRO to be about your rights online? In my judgement two of the past 10 YRO stories fit the bill. ("Forgent Squeezing Money Out Of JPEG, Other Patents" and "Net Phone Customers Brace For 'VoIP Spam'". An argument could be made for "Jerry Falwell Wins Dispute Over Fallwell.com" as a third).
    • this is a pretty nifty use of biometric technology, to key the person's fingerprint to locking & opening a locker.

      Up to that point, it is nifty and it's not a rights problem.

      ...Slashdot ... trying to turn this into some sorts of online rights issue.

      It turns into a rights problem when visitors who thought they were getting a locker in fact get a database check. Even if such a check were "reasonable and necessary", it would still qualify as "awful and tragic". And, how can anyone trust that this d

    • by garcia (6573) * on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:35AM (#9949254)
      I don't see a problem with using this as a way to deter that.

      And this is exactly what the *good* "citizens" of our fine country are supposed to say. "I have nothing to hide please take my finger prints."

      I say the hell with that. Just because we have nothing to hide does not mean that we should happily fork over our identities.

      As far as it being a useful technology. Yes, it's a fantastic overuse of a technology. I always felt that a key or a temporary code worked better. Perhaps I am just old-fashioned that way probably just paranoid.

      The government wants us to be paranoid over terrorists to detract from being paranoid about them. I'm not fooled.
  • by gorbachev (512743) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:21AM (#9949040) Homepage
    Read the damn article before posting it.

    The article discusses other end-user fingerprinting applications, and mentions the US-VISIT program where every terrorist, uh, foreigner entering the United States will get fingerprinted and the fingerprints of THAT scan will be run against the FBI database.

    The fingerprints taken to access lockers at the Statue of Liberty are NOT run against the FBI database.
  • Now we are going to have to put up with military and/or FBI swarming the place if a known terrorist decides to drop off a bomb in one of the lockers near Lady Liberty. Not that she'd be a target or something.
  • No problem. (Score:2, Funny)

    by strike2867 (658030)
    I got a great finger for them.
  • Plastics... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by eXtro (258933)
    Silly Putty can fool some consumer fingerpring scanners. I'd think that this would be immune to something that low-tech but if you could find a plastic with the right characteristics you should be able to make a fake finger.
    • And when you accidentally squish the silly putty out of shape, how do you get your stuff back?
    • Re:Plastics... (Score:3, Informative)

      by ilsa (197564)
      More importantly, fingerprint biometrics have a failure rate of about 2%. [ibia.org] That means that if they have 1000 locker uses in a day, they should expect 20 failures. There were 3,240,307 visits in 2003. [nps.gov] Lets say for the sake of argument that 10% use the lockers, or 324,000 people. That means roughly 6480 failures.

      I wonder what the proceedure is for getting your stuff back should you be one of those 2%.
  • What's next??? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ranolen (581431)
    With the american gov't going the way they are, you are going to have to give your fingerprints and a criminal record check just to leave your own house pretty soon. When are you going to realise that they are the ones who are "terrorizing" you into giving up all your information and freedoms so they can do what they want.
  • by Wingchild (212447) <brian@wingchild.net> on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:23AM (#9949075) Homepage
    Boy howdy, I'm wondering how this product was designed. While using a fingerprint-based system is entirely convenient and obviates the need for keys and coinage exchange units (and hey, it's tricky to lose a finger!), I start to wonder if there's anything else the equipment is conveniently tied into on the back-end.

    One really nice use would be to have chemical detectors and similar rigged up with the lockers to prevent someone from storing a bomb inside them -- and hey, if you find a prohibited item that needs to be turned over to law enforcement, you already have a fingerprint to run against the National Crime Information Computer (NCIC, the same one used for background checks for security clearances and the like).

    Seeing as how similar biometric systems are already in place for people with visas entering the country, why not tie it all together into a system that Homeland Defense can monitor? Ooh, I get all tingly thinking about the implications here.

    So... anyone have any additional information on the company that did the manufacturing for this system, or any ideas on what the internal architecture is like? Inquiring privacy-minded people want to know. ^^
  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:23AM (#9949079) Homepage Journal
    I heard the statue of Liberty would be replaced by Dick Cheney with a barrel of oil under one arm and a sack of cash raised above his head with the other.
  • partly to keep those incredibly dangerous objects like swiss army knives away from the fragile Statue of Liberty.

    Wow. Sarcasm is such a clever device for shoehorning an opinion into an otherwise normal statement. Let me try:
    "Yeah, I really bet that someone could fly a couple of planes into some buildings using box cutters as weapons to*" ... oh wait.

    • Realistically, obtaining control of an airliner with a set of box cutters should have been difficult to impossible. Unfortunately, with the mass of out-of-shape sheep who pass for the average American population, it proved possible to likely.

      My reaction to all of this is to condemn the bad health and placating attitude of threatened Americans, not to go after their pocket knives, letter openers, and nail clippers.
    • You should complete that sentence. "Oh wait ... it would fail - just like the 4th plane failed."

      4 planes were hijacked, only 3 buildings were hit. The last plane failed not they forgot to bring box cutters, but because the passengers realized what was really going on and took action. The presence of the horribly dangerous box-cutters did NOT help the terrorists in any way shape or form. They could have taken the first 3 planes just by claiming they had a bomb and that they would blow up the plane unless

  • by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:25AM (#9949108) Homepage Journal
    Somewhat off-topic, but at the moment, the Slashdot front page offers a slightly different version of this story summary (even after hitting Refresh). In fact, the story even disappeared from the front page for a moment, and I thought it was destined to be a ghost article [slashdot.org].

    Here's the info, for posterity, with differences in bold.

    Your Rights Online: Statue of Liberty Checks Fingerprints Against FBI Watchlist

    Posted by michael on Thu Aug 12, '04 11:13 AM
    from the oh-the-irony dept.
    gurps_npc writes "There is an interesting CNN article about the Statue of Liberty finally opening again (it was closed since 9/11 for security reasons). They have increased security to 'airport levels', and offer lockers for people to rent, partly to keep those incredibly dangerous objects like swiss army knives away from the fragile Statue of Liberty. But instead of keys, the lockers use fingerprint readers to open and close (approximately one reader for every 50 lockers). The privacy violation is of course that the lockers ALSO check your fingerprints against the FBI Terrorist Watch List. The article does not mention if any record of the finger print is kept by the FBI if it does not match. It also does not mention if the machine themselves keep a record of your fingerprint after you recover your stuff."

    Note that the editorial comment about the TSA design requirement wasn't in the original, either.
  • This is the Statue of "Liberty" [reference.com].

    Liberty: The condition of being free from restriction or control.

    When an icon of freedom can't be visited without controls and restriction, what's left?

    • by Wingchild (212447)
      You're not "free" to spraypaint the Statue a different color, either. That's also a "restriction" on your "liberty" and possibly an infringement upon your First Amendment rights to free speech and expression.

      America has always been the land of the free, with some caveats.
      • America has always been the land of the free, with some caveats

        and home of the brave, with a couple of girls' blouses that we don't talk about.

        In general, if you treat people like adults, they will act like adults. Its not a huge jump to if you treat people like criminals, they will act like criminals.

        Don't you see that have an icon of fredom, the freedom that supposedly the foundation on which the nation is built, under such heavy guard, is an incredibly powerful comment on just how much of the freed


  • Regardless of the laws that say it is not supposed to be done, one has no choice but to assume that if it is possible to track you, monitor you, profile you, what have you... ...it's going to be done.

    You simply have to accept this as one of many realities... especially in a Post-9/11 World.
  • by Maestro4k (707634) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:28AM (#9949142) Journal
    Most of the /. crowd will likely understand why this is bad and stupid to boot. You just have to love the irony though, orwellian tactics installed on lockers at one of the most enduring and prominent symbols of freedom in the world. What's next, required DNA samples if you want to buy a souvenier? (Wouldn't want those terrorists buying souveniers now would we?)

    For those that don't get the stupid part of this let me explain. If you were a terrorist casing the statue of liberty for a future attack and noticed the lockers required fingerprint scans would you use one? Even if you didn't know they'd be checking them against the FBI database you'd have to be one seriously stupid terrorist to not realize the possibility exists and it could blow your cover. They'll probably find a random minor criminal or two and arrest them with some trumped up charges to make it sound/look like these are helping fight the war on terror.

    Course the reality is they're not helping any, they're just further eroding what little privacy we have left and the terrorists will just avoid them. And yes I realize we're not guaranteed privacy in public places but running fingerprints without notice (on a regular basis, not just when you suspect someone of a crime) is a bit beyond the erosion of privacy we expect. It's just surreal, I don't think even Orwell thought things would get this silly.

  • I've always found this extra paranoia surrounding the Statue of Liberty a bit funny..

    At least in my experience, the SoL doesn't have as great symbolic value outside the US as it does to americans.

    What Americans consider important american symbols aren't always the same ones the rest of the world thinks of when they think of America.


    • To date, I've seen about 3 bowling alleys, 12 icky hotels, 2 pachinko parlors and a record shop with fiberglass SoLs on.

      That suggests some powerful symbolic value.

      I think it's symbolic of 'trying to differentiate your little cuboid building from the other little cuboid buildings on the strip, without spending much money', which, now I think of it, is actually a big part of the American Dream.

  • It's no like someone is going to take over the Statue of Liberty using box cutters and then crash it into downtown New York.
  • by Hitiek (150559) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:31AM (#9949184) Homepage Journal
    During a recent vacation to Universal Studios in Florida I had a chance to use what I assume are the same type of lockers. It worked reasonably well for me, but the person I was with had a lot of trouble getting it to read her fingerprint. There was also one reader that was in direct sunlight during part of the day, and would not read anyones fingerprint during that time.

    There is one computer with a fingerprint reader and a touch screen for a bank of lockers. When renting the locker you had to put your finger on the reader twice. Once the computer had two reads that matched for you, it would give you a locker number, you put your stuff in it and push the button to lock it. When you come back you have to remember your locker number and enter that on a touch screen, then present your finger to the reader again. When your fingerprint matches, the system unlocks your locker and you get your stuff.
  • ...is do they sell Gummi Bears at the Statue of Liberty concession stands?
  • by g0bshiTe (596213) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:32AM (#9949200)
    There is a Gift Shop located across from the lockers where they can purchase a package of Gummi Bears to bypass the biometric locks on the lockers.
    http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/06/25/131 5254&tid=172 [slashdot.org]
  • I was just there... (Score:5, Informative)

    by chrispyman (710460) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:32AM (#9949201)
    Earlier this week infact I visited the statue. Let me just say that security was incredibly tight, even moreso than at airports. To take the boat over to the island you first had to go through the standard metal detector/xray as you would at any airport. Next, if you wanted to get into the statue (and had a ticket to do so), you had to put all backpacks and large purses into one of these neat lockers. And after that, you went through a rather interesting machine that "sniffs" you for explosive materials and then go through another metal detector/xray. And even after all that security, you can only walk through the statue (actually the pedestal) while being watched and guided by a park ranger as well as several national park security gaurds. All and all it felt a bit like overkill, but considering that the statue is probably one of the most important symbols of America, it makes sense to so heavily gaurd it.
    • by Synesthesiatic (679680) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:53AM (#9949476) Homepage
      All and all it felt a bit like overkill, but considering that the statue is probably one of the most important symbols of America, it makes sense to so heavily gaurd it.

      I live a few blocks away from Canada'sParliament Hill [parl.gc.ca] and walked over at about midnight for a walk last night. I didn't see a single person for the first ten minutes. There was one area that had a few RCMP cars (probably their dispatch), but other than that there was virtually no security. I was literally within 10 feet of Centre Block [parl.gc.ca]'s front door without being bothered in the slightest.

      Now certainly Americans have a lot more cause to be cautious, but there's also an attitude here that excessive worry and planning for the worst just give you wrinkles.

      Then again, if Canada were attacked we might feel differently.

      • Don't worry, there's plenty of survelance equipment watching Parliament Hill from across at the US embassy. I'm sure they'll let us know if there's anything we should be worried about. ;)
      • Yes, but there have been attacks:

        One nut rammed his truck into the front steps at parliament hill a few years back.

        A crazed soldier walked into the Quebec legislature 20 years back, and shot the place up - it was just chance that he screwed up the time the legislature was in session, and arrived when the chamber was empty.

        http://archives.cbc.ca/IDC-1-70-1308-7634-11/th a t_ was_then/disasters_tragedies/lortie_gunman

        I guess you could also count the time back in 1916 when the mob burned the centre block to
    • by headkase (533448) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:53AM (#9949477)
      ...the statue is probably one of the most important symbols of America...
      Which reminds me of a great point I used to pull out when the whole France/Freedom Fries thing was going on. If you're that mad at them then give their damn statue back! :)
  • The OECD guidelines for the use and handling of personal information issued in 1980, while not part of US law are a pretty good minimum standard to apply to any privacy and informatiom handling issue. Unless there is an Act of Congress that gives this the go-ahead (which is not mentioned in the article) this decision on what to do with information collected at the Statue of Liberty pretty much trashes the following principles:

    Purpose Specification Principle: The purposes for which personal data are c
  • Privacy Violation? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by djrogers (153854) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:32AM (#9949209)
    Excuse me? How is this a privacy *violation*? You'd have to choose to voluntarily provide a fingerprint in a public place, and that's a violation? If I were standing on a street corner asking people to volunteer to have their fingerprints matched to the FBI database, would that be a privacy violation as well?
  • What if you need to review the Statue of Liberty to fight Vigo who has kidnapped Dana's baby? [imdb.com]

    I don't think Egon really wants to bother with these kind of stuff.
  • YAGI (Score:3, Funny)

    by grunt107 (739510) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:36AM (#9949260)
    Yet Another Government Intrusion.

    I do not agree w/the background check, but I would just not use the lockers. If they added 'just to visit' I would not visit the SoL.

    The 'slippery-slope' of the checks is that they will expand and all state enforcements will report to a central database.

    Of course, you get the 'I am not a criminal so I therefore have no problem w/these intrusions' from some people. Good for you. Maybe you can the first to sign up for the goverment's future Constant Resident Awareness Protection (CRAP) program, which will give you faster access to public buildings and services as long as you agree to have a GPS-monitor ID embedded in your skin.

    I am not a terrorist or felon, but I object to the increasing government intrusion for my 'safety'. I am in the group loathe to sacrifice liberty for security.
  • by JessLeah (625838) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:37AM (#9949270)
    I was once going to a client's data center at Globix [globix.com]. I was carrying a particularly nifty, but heavy, item that I found on the streets of Chinatown (an old Commodore monitor-- which, as I surmised, was still in working order!). Because I was holding this bulky object, I fumbled a bit as I pressed my finger to the scanner.

    I was still let in.

    So I went in, put the monitor down, and came back out to experiment. I tried another finger. It worked... I tried a knuckle. It worked...

    Finally, I held my hair (long hair) back, leaned down, and gently pressed the tip of my NOSE to the scanner plate.

    It worked.

    Moral of the story: Biometric security is sometimes just so much heehaw, and it does malfunction (and yields false-positives as well as false-negatives).
  • by mcelrath (8027)
    Oh the irony...I now refuse to visit the Statue of Liberty...in the name of preserving my own liberty.

    -- Bob

  • by Chanc_Gorkon (94133) <gorkon&gmail,com> on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:43AM (#9949365)
    We went to Paramount's King's Island in Cincinnatti and they used a finger print to make sure noone else used our ticket on the second day. At first you think so what, but what if you wer ecamping at teh campground and someone snuck in your tent and stole it or someone picked yuor pocket when in the park? While I think there are better ways, you still have to collect something and a fingerprint is better then a urine sample or god forbid blood samples.
  • the finger points (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:47AM (#9949413) Homepage Journal
    "In applications like the biometric lockers, the print itself is not stored or sent to authorities."

    Of course the print is stored, or it wouldn't be compared to the finger opening the locker. If the reporter got that wrong, maybe they're also misinforming us about its transmission. Americans need a court judgement against people who abuse our personal info, and cover it up, that destroys the careers of people up and down the line who participate in these mass privacy invasions. This is the Big Brother we were warned about, without any protective metaphor. We need to secure our rights now, when the precedents appear, before they're lost forever - a few years from now will be far too late.
  • Strange quote.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by teamhasnoi (554944) <teamhasnoi AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday August 12, 2004 @11:52AM (#9949475) Homepage Journal
    Hill expects visitors will find the lockers easier once they get used to them. Representatives from the locker maker, Smarte Carte Inc., say the biometric aspect often requires a fair amount of coaching, especially for people who aren't very familiar with computers.

    How many times do people visit the SoL? Once? Twice? Three times a Lady?

    How are they going to get used to them? Unless, of course, these lockers will eventually be installed everywhere...(cue theater organ)

    I'm still surprised that the morons who changed French Fries to 'Freedom Fries' haven't tried to get the SoL taken down and shipped back to France - after all, 'They are against us'.

  • by Zathras26 (763537) <pianodwarf@gm a i l . c om> on Thursday August 12, 2004 @12:16PM (#9949819)
    This kind of privacy intrusion has been going on for a lot longer than most of us think or realize. In my home state of Hawaii, for instance, you are required to be fingerprinted just to get a state ID card, and I'd hazard a guess that that's not the only state that does that, either. You could dodge this particular fingerprint problem by not visiting the Statue of Liberty, but the ID card requirement in Hawaii would be a lot harder to get around.
  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Thursday August 12, 2004 @12:41PM (#9950186)
    The focus has quietly shifted, (right on schedule), from suspecting and suppressing external 'terrorists' at borders and international airports, to suspecting and suppressing the general citizenry.

    That was the plan all along. The Mossad in collusion with the American secret government orchestrated 9-11. Box-cutters, my arse. The object which hit the pentagon wasn't even a passenger jet. The engine parts photographed in the wreckage match a much smaller aircraft, for goodness sake! Anybody who thinks differently has simply not done any research into the subject. Lazy, lazy ostriches! Perhaps some people DO need those Dopamine blocking monkey pills from a few articles down the cue! --And probably something to cut through the fear as well.

    Expect it to get worse, comrade. Pretending it's not there is what got us all where we are now, with unwelcome troops in Iraq, a false residing president and population monitoring systems installed *very deliberately* at the foundation of the symbol of American freedom itself! You think that wasn't on purpose? Sheesh. This is psy-ops 101!

    And we're just getting started, comrade!


    -FL

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming

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