US, India working to incorporate biometrics into Unique Identification System
April 30th, 2010

EPIC reports:

Worker Biometric ID Under Consideration in US

Senators Charles Schumer and Lindsey Graham have proposed a new
national identity card. The Senators would require that “all U.S.
citizens and legal immigrants who want jobs” obtain a “high-tech,
fraud-proof Social Security card” with a unique biometric identifier.
The card, they say, would not contain private information, medical
information, or tracking techniques, and the biometric identifiers
would not be stored in a government database. EPIC has testified in
Congress and commented to federal agencies on the privacy and security
risks associated with national identification systems and biometric
identifiers.

Schumer & Graham: The Right Way to Mend Immigration

http://www.epic.org/redirect/040710natlidproposal.html

EPIC Testimony regarding a 2007 National ID proposal

http://epic.org/privacy/ssn/eevs_test_060707.pdf

EPIC Comments regarding RealID proposal

http://epic.org/privacy/id-cards/epic_realid_comments.pdf

EPIC: National ID and the Real ID Act

http://epic.org/privacy/id-cards/

EPIC: Biometric Identifiers
http://epic.org/privacy/biometrics/

The government of India is coming closer to creating a biometric-embedded Unique Identification System. Originally reported back in Nov 2009 on http://wikileaks.org/ (now missing from that website), now reported by BBC as “biometric census“.

India will likely be the example followed by many other nations in creating biometric identities for citizens. There are some important questions about who should control this data about individuals, what rights should people have in regards to unique identifiers? for instance, should people be excluded from earning wages, communicating, and generally operating in society if they lack these government-issued identities? Prior to the deployment and instituting of these systems, we need to see vigorous debate and discussion about how these systems will affect the basic rights of people. Now is the time in the US and India,  to begin speaking out in public forums and channels about where you stand on your rights and your privacy.

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Comments

Mr. Rose,

I applaud you for reminding all readers that it is now time for “vigorous debate and discussion” about government practices relating to biometric recognition and identification. The subtlety and effectiveness of newer unique identifiers can lead to passive acceptance of data gathering. We need broad consensus on new data and identity-profiling protocols, as well as alert sentinels who fairly present the emerging implications of these technologies.

I have written about some of these issues in two recent Metalifestream blog posts: “Designer Privacy” http://metalifestream.com/wordpress/?p=1489 and “Face Recognition” http://metalifestream.com/wordpress/?p=1344.

I look forward to seeing, and participating in, more discussion on what Unique Identification Systems will mean for all of us.

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