Hello,

Could this be the forerunner technology to the “Mark of The Best?” See what you think.

Pastor Kevin

End Times News Update
Sign: Mark of the Beast (ID tech news, biometrics)
Scripture: Rev 13:16-18
News Source: Business Week
=======================================================
The Dawning of the Biometric Age

Say goodbye to PINs and photo IDs. Say hello to digital fingerprints
and iris scans—and to new opportunities for security businesses

By Ellen Gibson
May 20, 2009, 10:26AM EST

In baby steps and giant leaps, the world is moving further into
digital identification and biometrics. The new technology raises
concerns about privacy, of course, as well as opportunities for
security companies.

The latest to join the migration: Switzerland. On May 17, Swiss voters
narrowly approved a government plan to switch over to electronic
passports, tied to a national fingerprint registry. The new passport
will contain a microchip that stores personal data, a digital photo,
and two fingerprints. At border crossings or airport checkpoints,
travelers would have their fingerprints scanned and digital photos
taken to make sure they match info in their e-passports.

Switzerland is actually behind much of Europe. Every nation in the
European Union must institute fingerprint-enabled e-passports by next
summer. Germany, France, and the Netherlands have already started
issuing them.

Unhindered Trip

Some locales are testing more advanced systems. For instance, at
Manchester Airport in Britain, where facial-recognition devices have
been installed in security gates, passengers with optional e-passports
can bypass long lines and stroll right through. While travelers enjoy
the unhindered trip through the airport, boosters say e-passports
enable the government easily and swiftly to check anyone entering the
country against international watchlists.

The digitization of personal information is a boon to companies in
biometrics, or technology that can identify people based on unique
physiological traits, such as fingerprints, DNA or even a person’s
gait or blood-vessel patterns. There are countless applications for
biometrics—in border control, medical records, computing, and
commercial transactions—and many experts predict it won’t be long
before such scans are part of everyday lives.

Lockheed Martin (LMT) is one of several companies partnering with
government agencies to develop new applications in biometrics. The
Bethesda (Md.) company is managing an effort by the Transportation
Security Administration to give up to 1 million maritime and
transportation workers access to secure areas of ports via biometric
credentials, including finger and iris scans, which will be stored on
biometric ID cards.

Meantime, the FBI has formed an international agency with Australia,
Britain, and Canada to set up a “Server in the Sky”—a network for
sharing biometric data on criminals and suspected terrorists. The
group, called the International Information Consortium, asserts that a
global biometric clearinghouse would help nations combat terrorism and
rapidly identify victims in large-scale disasters such as Hurricane
Katrina.

Resistance from Privacy Groups

Northrop Grumman (NOC), which is headquartered in Los Angeles, is
supplying the technology, although the initiative has been met with
resistance from privacy groups and has been slowed by the need for
interoperability between different countries’ databases.

The private sector has been experimenting with biometrics for years.
Anyone who has seen CSI: Las Vegas knows that casinos use this
technology. Some regional credit unions have already piloted programs
wherein members are identified by palm scans. And Walt Disney World
(DIS) has been using finger scanners to ID visitors and prevent
pass-sharing for years.

“Pre-9/11, the expectation was that [advances in biometrics] would
percolate up from the commercial sector,” says Lawrence Hornak,
co-director of the National Science Foundation’s Center for
Identification Technology Research.

“But with the emphasis on security after 9/11, there are now major
government initiatives.”

Many individuals might prefer digital identification over today’s
security systems, which often require lengthy combinations of letters
and numbers that must be changed frequently. Biometric proponents
foresee a future in which body scanners replace passwords in computers
and personal identification numbers at ATMs. “You always carry your
physical characteristics with you,” notes Hornak. “That provides a lot
of convenience.”

The major challenge in implementing biometric banking on a larger
scale is providing the infrastructure. Institutions would need a
central repository of biometric information against which to compare
the scans.

Breaches Are Inevitable

Perhaps a bigger hurdle is opposition from civil liberties groups,
which contend that biometric systems infringe on privacy and
compromise individual security. Many people are wary of a future in
which cameras sample their physical traits, compiling digital dossiers
without their knowledge as they stroll through an airport or
convenience store. And consumers fear that hackers will steal their
information when it is contained in a centralized database.

Most security analysts acknowledge that data breaches are
inevitable—in fact, experts have demonstrated that fingerprint
scanners can be fooled with just gummy candies and a laser printer—but
your biometrics are irreplaceable. “If my password security is
breached, my bank and I can agree on another bit of secret
information,” explains John Verdi, senior counsel at the Electronic
Privacy Information Center. “If I give my bank an iris scan and
somebody spoofs it, I can’t do anything other than poke out my eyes.”

Verdi is not opposed to biometrics research, but he has a hard time
believing that the advantages of current applications outweigh the
risks. “If you’re going to submit this truly sensitive information,
you’re pretty much assured that it’s going to be compromised at some
point,” he says. “The question is: What is so important that I’m
willing to put that information out there?”

Source: Business Week
URL:
http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/may2009/id20090520_625039.htm


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