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Afghanistan Biometric Data Given To US 108

Posted by samzenpus
from the lets-pull-up-your-information dept.
wisebabo writes "I just noticed that not only are all Afghans going to have their biometric data (fingerprints and iris scans) recorded but the government plans to share it with the U.S. From the article: 'Gathering the data does not stop at Afghanistan's borders, however, since the military shares all of the biometrics it collects with the United States Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security through interconnected databases.' Talk about 'know thine enemy' (or I guess, for now, friend). Does this foretell the near future when the U.S. govt. (and by extension, Chinese hackers) have the biometrics of almost everyone alive?"
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Afghanistan Biometric Data Given To US

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  • by AlexKilpatrick (2513332) on Monday November 21, 2011 @11:01AM (#38123990) Homepage
    Biometric are about probabilities, and a poor fingerprint has a higher chance of a false match. Many Afghans have poor fingerprints because of manual labor (masonry work, etc.). Also, a miss is harder than a match, because you have to search every single record. They may have the thresholds set so low that the "best" match pops up, even if it is not a great match. That would explain this kind of false positive for the reporter. It sounds to me like the system worked - there was a secondary verification of using a photograph, which would have cleared the person who got the false positive.
  • by durrr (1316311) on Monday November 21, 2011 @11:09AM (#38124078)
    Working as inteded.
    This way any agent of the US wanting to get rid of someone unwanted will just use his terrorist-check-rights and force you at gunpoint to have your fingers scanned. It then uses an "what's your arab-terrorist-alias generator" and generates a false positive, allowing said officer to shoot you directly as you pose a threat to the Free World(tm), said officer then goes through the standardized "blame a technical glitch" whitewash procedure.

    It's a brilliant fascist system. Of course we need to take it a step further and remove the do not fly list and whatever lists that numbers those to look out for, because hey, there's so many terrorists that it's hard to keep track. We should instead create a not-a-terrorist-list for the rich and their friends and implement prison wages for the rest of the population, not that there would be any particularly noticable difference
  • by RobinEggs (1453925) on Monday November 21, 2011 @11:11AM (#38124098)
    Ah, yes, the inevitable pile of 1984 analogies that comes up for every single fucking story that relates to privacy or government authority in any way. At least yours is a largely correct interpretation of the book, conveys the impression that you actually read it, and comes in response to a topic where the book has some applicability.

    Now we just need some sacharine, hyperbolic "first they came for..." parodies, then a few posters to angrily dismiss any voices of moderation on grounds that the very first overstep of government authority on privacy matters that isn't met with outright caterwauling will lead to a full-fledged totalitarian state (just as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow morning), and we'll have the Slashdot Privacy Discussion Trifecta.

    Again, not to pick on you in particular, Pharmboy. Yours isn't far off. It's just that as someone with thorough knowledge of 1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, the Postman, etc. it's so fucking obnoxious and tiring for me to see people misquote, misunderstand, and exaggerate the dystopic classics so dramatically, day in and day out.
  • by RobinEggs (1453925) on Monday November 21, 2011 @11:54AM (#38124650)
    I really pity the American intelligence community. They're expected to catch every single credible threat, not just to America but to any nation or political figure on the planet, without going so much as a micron past the ever-shifting 'too far' and 'possibly not far enough' marks at risk of being flat-out pilloried in venues far more hysterical and influential than this.

    Between the conservatives who claim we've still not gone far enough in fighting terror and the liberals who scream at any infinitesimal possibility of privacy violations but still want a potent intelligence apparatus - and the general public's simultaneous sympathy for both sides - it's impossible to win. The safe operating widths of the intelligence community (on some hypothetical number line ranging from "knows everything about everybody in real time" to "won't so much as question a guy carrying dynamite up the Capitol steps without first consulting the Human Rights Commission and the ACLU") are almost always measured in negative numbers, and large ones at that.

    I mean seriously. Many liberals and libertarians are demanding surveillance policies so dense and cautious that no intelligence organization could reasonably decide on manpower and human judgment alone whether to stop a possibly dangerous person from entering the country until well after he's either blown up a building or completed his perfectly innocuous two-week business trip, whichever comes later. And, as in the reaction to this story, God help them if they use computers, networking, and/or any persistent databases to speed up that decision!

    And if it's not the liberals and libertarians bitching about even the slightest possibility of privacy violations, it's the conservatives who say we might as well erect a thirty foot electrified fence around the entire nation and fire mortars at everyone who approaches wearing more than a see-through jockstrap and an implanted, US-made chip containing their passport, complete encrypted biometric profile, and HD-video of their entire life up to the moment they walked into view of the mortar teams.

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