Homeland Security to test iris scans for tracking illegal aliens.

Fraud and identity theft make the news nearly every day.…

Fraud and identity theft make the news nearly every day. The U.S. is moving closer to identity management with the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC), but systems based on usernames and passwords have proven to be hackable and insecure in the past. Most of us resist change, especially if it is radically different from what we are used to, but what if we could do away with fraud completely by using the most unique biometric scale? It’s not fingerprinting or facial recognition; the most secure and unique biometric identifier is the iris.

For two weeks in early October, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will test Global Rainmakers Inc (GRI) iris scanners at a Border Patrol station in McAllen, Texas. Arun Vemury, program manager at Homeland Security’s Science and Technology branch, told USA Today that the iris scans “will be used on illegal immigrants.” A database of stored digital images of people’s eyes are a “quicker alternative to fingerprints.”

Many people’s knee-jerk reaction to iris scanners is that Big Brother is coming. If iris scanning technology is misused, then it could paint a terrifying picture. But consider this first: When you enter another country, you must show your passport. Whether or not you are a fan of RFID, a passport is the current price to travel the world. You can choose not to show your passport, but you won’t be happily let into that country. If the iris becomes the key, and someday replaces the passport, then there will be no need for other documents. There are still choices if you decide iris scans are evil; you could choose to close your eyes and not be scanned.

Source: Darlene Storm for Computerworld.com.

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