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The UAE Claims To Hold the Worlds Largest Biometric Database 82

Posted by samzenpus
from the biggest-list dept.
another random user writes "The United Arab Emirates holds the largest biometric database in the world, the Emirates Identity Authority has announced. The population register of Emirates ID has over 103 million digital fingerprints and over 15 million digital facial recognition records, which includes multiple records of each UAE resident, and digital signatures as of October 11, senior officials said. Dr. Ali Al Khoury, Director General of Emirates ID, said the authority has submitted an official application to the World Record Academy to recognize this record. Asked about the confirmation of the authority's claims about the world record, an official spokesman of the authority told Gulf News on Sunday: 'We have made worldwide surveys and inquiries with the similar official authorities and agencies of the world governments holding such databases and confirmed that our database is the largest. The World Record Academy also confirmed to us that no other government or authority has made a similar claim for such a record,' he said."
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The UAE Claims To Hold the Worlds Largest Biometric Database

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  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Monday October 15, 2012 @01:52PM (#41660465) Homepage Journal
    Ok...this is a bragging rights type thing somehow??
  • Haha (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mitreya (579078) <mitreyaNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday October 15, 2012 @01:56PM (#41660497)

    no other government or authority has made a similar claim for such a record

    Other governments, that may be sued for doing this, are just not advertising their databases.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by aralin (107264)

      US will fingerprint and photograph every single person crossing its borders. Either all the travel is done by a small group of people, or more likely their database is much, much larger than UAE. Definitely the facial recognition records, but very likely also on the fingerprints.

      • US will fingerprint and photograph every single person crossing its borders.

        No kidding? Apparently I missed that when I re-entered the U.S. two days ago, but I'm sure they must be doing it at every other border point in the U.S.. Or maybe they just overlooked me in the crowd? After all, there were hundreds of us lined up with customs declaration forms and passports ready to show...though, now that I think of it, none of them were getting fingerprinted or photographed either. Nor have I ever been fingerprinted in my entire life, now that I think of it. How very odd that I seem to ha

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by anarcobra (1551067)
          The USA fingerprints every foreigner entering the country (at least at airports).
          This policy is nothing new, and has been in place for some years now.
          • Strange, I am a Canadian citizen who flew from Toronto, Canada to California in August and I was not fingerprinted at all. Perhaps it's only people who are from non-NAFTA countries?
            • I'm not sure.
              I'm Dutch and I flew to the USA last year and I was fingerprinted.
              So were most of the other people on that flight.
              • It depends on your visa and the consulate that issued the visa, actually. The aim is not to get your fingerprints when you enter the US, but to verify that you are the person the visa was issued for. The Canadian GP probably never needed a visa, and there was nothing to verify through finger prints.

                • by JimBobJoe (2758)

                  It's not dependent on the visa. People from visa waiver nations (such as the UK, Germany, Japan, etc) will still get enrolled into US-VISIT (the photograph/fingerprinting system.)

                  Canadians have a special exemption.

            • by isorox (205688)

              Strange, I am a Canadian citizen who flew from Toronto, Canada to California in August and I was not fingerprinted at all. Perhaps it's only people who are from non-NAFTA countries?

              You'd have cleared US immigration in Toronto, didn't you get scanned there?

              This year, as a UK passport holder, I've travelled to India, Russia, Israel, Gaza, St Lucia, Indonsedia, Singapore, The U.S, UK, various european countries, and probably a couple of other places I've forgotten.

              Only the U.S. takes my fingerprints.

            • by brunes69 (86786)

              Canada is exempt because if every Canadian had to be fingerprinted at the land crossings the border (and hundreds of billions in commerce) would screech to a halt.

              Not sure about Mexicans.

        • The GP is correct. On entering the US, only Americans and Canadians can skip the fingerprints. It's been this way for at least a few years. You need to get out of your bubble.

          • Perhaps the GP needs to not make overgeneralizations that are incorrect instead? That was kinda my point.

    • by skegg (666571)

      Other governments, that may be sued for doing this, are just not advertising their databases.

      Very true. With a population of ~22 million, Australia would have to have about the same number (15 million?) digital facial recognition records.
      Every driver's licence carries a clear photo of the holder.

      On a side-topic, bars and pubs are increasingly installing ID scanners as a condition of entry [smh.com.au]. The 2 reasons they float are (i) so that if there is ever any trouble they can link poor-CCTV footage to a high-qualit

  • Oh great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mr1911 (1942298) on Monday October 15, 2012 @01:56PM (#41660523)
    Now the Dept. of Homeland Security will think it is a contest. More rights violations in 3, 2, ...
  • I knew it! (Score:5, Funny)

    by wierd_w (1375923) on Monday October 15, 2012 @01:57PM (#41660533)

    I KNEW those amiga fanbois were up to something! All this time their precious UAE was silently gathering damning personal biometric information on their users, hoping to shame them away from PCs running windows, MacOS and Linux!

    Wait.. what? United Arab Emerates? Not Ubiqutious Amiga Emulator?

    Wait, what? Nothing to do with amiga users at all? Sir, do you know what site this is!? Honestly, what is this world coming to!

    [Note for the humor deprived: there has been so much bullshit pertaining to the middle east lately that I felt some humor was warranted. Deal with it.]

  • But seriously, why would they think that any serious organization that had such a database (like the NSA, for example) would bother registering it with the "The World Record Academy"? A database like that is supposed to be used for something. Simply being the biggest is no more impressive than the biggest ball of twine in the world. I'd be much more interested if it was the fastest, because scanning a database that large for biometric matches is probably not going to be easy.

    This "news" just sounds like so

  • I doubt they have China or the US beat. Hell, I'd venture the Casino's in Macau or Las Vegas even have that beat. They just don't report it because an accolade like a world record in this field is useless and frankly not earning you any high fives from the public either.
  • At some point the light should go off in everyone's head to see where governments are going with this. It'll probably be too late, but at least we will realize what happened... But then what?

    • by lennier (44736)

      At some point the light should go off in everyone's head

      ... because they'd left their mind open, but now it's safely closed again?

  • by feedayeen (1322473) on Monday October 15, 2012 @02:26PM (#41660935)

    Professional athletes, those who've inherited their fortune, and Saudi royalty:

    Athletes earned their wealth by virtue of a genetic lottery and countless hours of physical training.
    Those who've inherited 'old money' have never struggled in their lives and often live in a bubble.
    The Saudi royalty just dug a hole in the ground and discovered a gold mine.

    I think somebody just offered to sell them, 'THE WORLD'S LARGEST biometric database' and somebody said sure, I don't have one of those.

  • Kind of a dubious distinction. Like having the world record for number of gulags, or something.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday October 15, 2012 @02:31PM (#41661017) Journal

    The UAE's native population is vastly outnumbered by imported workers.

    There's about 1 million natives and about 7 million foreigners.
    A small fraction of those 7 million foreigners are white collar, with the rest being cheap labor

    Almost all of the labor force is male and the government was scared shitless the last time the workers got upset and started striking.
    It's no surprise that they want to build a database of the immigrant workers.

  • Without wishing to collude in this gigantic one-upmanship-fest...

    Total population of UAE is around 8 million (estimate - 2005 census it was actually 4 million).

    TFA specifically says the records are UAE residents so we aren't talking about huge numbers of transiting air passengers or tourists.

    So - how the hell do these numbers add up? If there are now 102 million fingerprint records, has every resident been digitally fingerprinted 12 times?? If there are 15 million facial records, has every resident
  • Far more than 32 million foreigners enter the USA every year wiki [wikipedia.org], and they take digital photos and fingerprints.
  • In Mexico, the IFE (electoral office) has 40 millions fingerprints records with two fingerprints per person, so it's 80M fingerprints. Also the IFE have 90M face mugshot - there is a delta of 50M person with only face mugshot and no fingerprint. EUA as a population of less than 10M persons (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Arab_Emirates) and they take a tenprint for ID and passport (plus iris - burka situation!), add the foreing resident and workers, you reach the +100M fingerprint (100 fingerprints / 10

  • The Chinese government has a database which is larger by 1 order of magnitude.
    It's only that none knows anything about it.
  • Mr. Yamamoto
  • Someone should tell him that the people are actually interested in privacy. He sounds like a pervert who is bragging about his collection of secret photos that he took from a safe distance.
  • by Somebody Is Using My (985418) on Monday October 15, 2012 @06:55PM (#41664249) Homepage

    Some time back, a major Internet player - I forget who but it might have been LinkedIn - had a breech where millions of passwords were stolen (I'm sure somebody here can fill in the details).

    At first, this breach would only seem to be of concern to people who used that service; their accounts were suddenly vulnerable because their passwords were no longer secret. But this breach had even more wide-spread implications than that; suddenly the black-hats had a new and very powerful tool for cracking other systems: a real-world data-dump of live passwords. This not only improved their "dictionary" for brute-force attacks, but also allowed them to create better rules for their cracking tools on which passwords were more likely to be used, thanks to the information they gleaned from these leaks. Cracking live systems became much easier because their tools could give priority to real-life examples rather than blindly attempting every possible permutation.

    Now, the situation with the UAE biometric database is not exactly the same, but a lesson should be learned from the password-breeches of the past few years: the value of the information in those databases is more than simply access to whatever locks they control. It can be used - and will be used - in unexpected ways. I can't say I'm smart enough to guess what those ways are (if I was, I probably wouldn't be posting on slashdot), and whatever new technologies are developed with that information are not necessarily evil. But because it is tied so closely to the identity of real people, that information can be very powerful and very dangerous.

    Not only should there be safeguards to ensure this information is only collected by responsible parties, but there need to be protections on this information so it does not get released into the wild. Because you can bet that its not only the (supposedly) white-hats interested in this sort of stuff. WE should not be blindly accepting of biometrics (or indeed, any centralization of vital information on people) simply because of the convenience it adds to our lives; there is probably a cost in the long run.

  • I hope Iran wins the war!

  • Pffffftttt... It's not going to save them from the jihadis . Democracy, not DNA , is the only thing that's going to stop the jihadis from toppling Saudi and the UAE.

    Of cource, hereditary absolute monarchists aren't much interested in that fact....

  • Well they would just be plain wrong. UID has over 250 million people all 10 fingerprints both iris and a facial scan and is growing by almost 1 million per day. So clearly UAE is not looking very hard.

(1) Never draw what you can copy. (2) Never copy what you can trace. (3) Never trace what you can cut out and paste down.

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