Sunday, February 18, 2007

Privacy concerns baffle me

Driver’s License Emerges as Crime-Fighting Tool, but Privacy Advocates Worry - New York Times:
"“The states are finding hundreds of cases of fraud each year in each state,” said J. Scott Carr, executive vice president of the Digimarc Corporation, which says it has sold biometric technology to motor vehicle departments in seven states and has a role in the production of more than two-thirds of all driver’s licenses in the United States."

Some states (Massachusettss is the focus of this NYT article) are using facial recognition software to find duplicate faces on drivers licenses. The goal being to prevent identity theft and fraudulently obtaining a license under a false name by persons whose own licenses have been suspended or revoked. Along the way, they turn up a lot of identical twins.

If you read the whole article and skip the speculation that "someday" surveillance camera footage will be matched to driver licenxe photos to identify perps, you find that even comparing two images taken under very similar lighting conditions and from the same angle, the software can only do a rough cut on the data and the actual determination of a match relies on a trained human analyst.

From the standpoint of privacy concerns, I don't see a problem here. Isn't this actually less intrusive than police following up leads from people who see a suspect's picture on America's Most Wanted or the local evening news?


At Sun Feb 18, 10:50:00 PM EST, Blogger Safe Cruise Blog said...
Are the Privacy and Security of Millions of American Cruise Vacation Customers at Risk?

What kind of security procedures and privacy rights exist for customers concerning the vast amount of personal data gathered and catalogued by the cruise line and other travel companies. They not only have our Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, phone and address info but they have our spending, eating, gambling, and shopping habits as well as medical information they ask for or obtain during incidents. They also have names and phone numbers of our relatives and friends used for emergency contacts. Most worrisome of all is all of the photos and videos they have of us from the ship and sail cards and surveillance videos. Can those images be converted to face scans? Evidently they can according to this New York Times article: February 17, 2007 By ADAM LIPTAK
Driver’s License Emerges as Crime-Fighting Tool, but Privacy Advocates Worry


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