Privacy Issues Surrounding Biometric Technology

The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center have provoked in-depth discussion and study of existing security measures, their deficiencies, and how to enhance security to prevent similar terrorist attacks from occurring in the future. Biometric technology has risen to the top of the list as a possible solution. The government is not the only entity exploring biometric security systems. The financial services industry see biometrics as a way to curb identity theft. Biometrics are intrinsic physical characteristics used to identify individuals. The most commonly used biometric is fingerprints but others include, handprints, facial features, iris & retinal scans, and voice recognition.

Soon after 9/11 there were calls for the issuance of national ID cards containing biometric information on an RFID chip implanted on the card. The argument is that national ID cards will increase security by identifying individuals with their unique fingerprints which are much more difficult to counterfeit than standard photo ID cards. There is also a movement toward biometric passports. It looks like biometric passports are coming soon. National ID cards may follow.

Biometric identification is nothing new. Humans have been identifying other humans biometrically since the beginning of time. You recognize people you know by their facial features, their voice, and other biometric features. What’s new is introducing technology into the mix that compares a given biometric with a stored database of biometrics to verify the identity of an individual. An individual place their finger on a fingerprint scanner and the image is compared with the database to verify the person’s identity. Promising as it is, biometric technology has not been without hiccups but biometrics are advancing quickly and becoming more and more prevalent in security systems.

Fingerprints are the most commonly used biometric identifiers. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) conducted a study that showed single fingerprint biometric systems had a 98.6 percent accuracy rate. The accuracy rate rose to 99.6 percent when 2 fingerprints were used and an almost perfect 99.9 percent when 4 or more fingerprints were used. The study results show that biometric identification is nearly perfect which is not surprising given the uniqueness of human fingerprints.

The US-VISIT program, which is an acronym for United States Visitor & Immigrant Status Indicator Technology, currently requires foreign visitors to the US to present a biometric passport containing 2 fingerprints and a digital photo for identification purposes before being granted admission to the U.S. Of course the biometrics are compared against a vast network of government databases full of known and suspected terrorists and other criminals.

On the surface biometric technology may sound like a panacea but it’s use has raised significant privacy concerns that need to be addressed. Here are six major privacy concerns: storage, vulnerability, confidence, authenticity, linking, and ubiquity.

Critics wonder how the data will be stored and how vulnerable it will be to theft or abuse. Confidence issues center around the implications of false positives and false negatives. Can the biometric data be used to link to other information about the individual such as marital status, religion, employment status, etc.? And finally ubiquity. What are the implications of leaving electronic “bread crumbs” to mark a trail detailing every movement an individual makes?

Until these issues are addressed, privacy advocates will lead a charge to resist biometric technology claiming it as a way for the government to assume a “Big Brother” type of rule as described in George Orwell’s novel 1984. But protest as they may, it’s likely national security concerns and the ability of biometric systems to enhance the security of US border and possibly prevent another major terrorist attack will win out over privacy concerns.

Jewelry Shopping

My cousin who I hardly see maybe about once a year wants jewelery from me for her sixteenth birthday. We've got a quirky little relationship. Unlike my sister, who I've been at war with since she was born, the dynamic with my younger cousin is more affable. We get on. I'd never get my sister jewelry – far too weird. But somehow for a cousin like her, it feels both big brotherly and friendly.

So I'm working through mental pictures to try and remember what kind of jewelry she wears, as I figure there could be some sort of theme, color, and material concurrent to her tastes. Or are they just random? Would anything do? Buying jewelry I am discovering taking takes reasonable time and mental effort, not to mention empathy (or is it sympathy?) And some other types of emotional engagement that I do not know the words for.

Ok, so a diamond ring might be a bit too much, but then again I do not want to just get some plain accessories. A bracelet perhaps? A sparkly bracelet? I'm trying to think how many different types of jewelry there actually are out there. I guess it's limited by the imagination. There's so many innovations in design and beauty wear it's hard to keep track unless you read the fashion supplements in Sunday newspapers.

Though even fashion is hardly a guide. I guess looking at what jewelry to buy online may help. Some of the jewelry shopping web sites are overwhelming with regard to the range of jewelry to buy on the Internet.

It's hard to tell what's retro and what's just new anyway. What's in one week can be out the next and then the week after it's back in again but on a white gold chain or something.

I try a new tack on choosing what jewelry to buy online for my cousin. I guess she'd be happy whatever I bought as she's the type who appreciates the 'thought that counts.' But she'll probably also want something nice; some kind of awkward politeness is not the response that would encourage me to buy jewelry online for friends or family again.

What's her favorite color? I'm not sure if she has a favorite color – at least one that does not change week to week. Maybe a multi-colored necklace? Then again, I quite fancy that she'd love a brooch. Brooches look great. I think. Yes she'd quite like a brooch.

It's so easy to look at brooches online, or bracelets, necklaces, rings. Prices, sizes and types all in convenient little lists that you can scroll through. Given that in jewelry shop most of the stuff is sealed behind reinforced security glass it is not much different to looking at jewelry on a web page.

I see a nice looking brooch online. Studded with green and blue gems. It's not too loud but looks both quirky and timeless, in a modest kind of way. It's subtle. Not quite like my cousin but they do say opposites attract.

Wireless Computer Headsets For Your Convenience

The present era is the age of wireless gadgets. The days of wired gadgets are now passé. The same can be said about wireless computer headsets. When headsets for computers were first introduced, they were of the wired variety. Notwithstanding their popularity, many users would complain that the wires got in the way of doing routine tasks and would reduce their mobility and freedom. With the advancement in technology, folks have now become used to wireless computer headsets. You can use wireless headsets to listen to your favorite music or watch a favorite video from your couch or seat without the wires getting in between you and your favorite activity.

Wireless computer headsets are now a common option available to people, unlike the past. At that time, wireless computer headsets were something of a rarity and were quite expensive as well. This made wired headsets the only option available. Things changed however, when wireless headsets were introduced. This has brought down the price of wired headsets to a considerable extent and many people have already taken the advantage of their low price and easy availability.

The additional benefit of using a wireless PC headset is flexibility. With these gadgets, it is not necessary for you to be in front of your PC. You can be away from it and still use it or chat to people in a crystal clear manner. Some of the best of these wireless gadgets will help you even filter out unwanted noise as well.

If you have been using the more traditional wired headsets before, then you would like to know if purchasing a wireless gadget would be worth it. Going by the price and the voice fidelity, these gadgets have come up to the expectations and perform as good as their wired cousins. When wireless headsets for computers were first introduced, the signal would easily get disturbed because of interference. But with the improvement in technology, there has been a positive development in the quality of sound produced by the wireless equivalents, so they can easily transmit and receive data with the computer.

The life span of these gadgets is also comparable to their wired equivalent and if used properly, wireless computer headsets have a long life as well. The only precaution you need to follow is that you should not drop these gadgets frequently or else the wireless circuits could get damaged permanently. Finding these gadgets should not be a problem since you can easily locate that at your favorite electronics store. You can even search for these on the Internet at really affordable prices.

Perfect Europe Vacation Planning

Are you planning to go on a Europe Vacation some day? If so, you have picked an excellent place to venture to, as Europe has great cultural and historical significance, making it a hot locale for travelers. Places like Berlin, London, Venice, Nice, and Paris are very popular for people taking trips abroad. I have some tips for you, expert information, about how you can make your trip to Europe an experience you will never forget.

Keep an Open Mind

You should never settle on a rigid itinerary for your vacation. By traveling to a foreign location, you are giving yourself the opportunity to immerse yourself in a different culture and lifestyle than what you are accredited to. For that reason, you should try looking into short-term rentals on homes and apartments. It is actually a very common practice in that part of the world, and you will find that renting is much cheaper than hotels or resorts. This will give you the opportunity to go into the streets and meet people, allowing you to learn more about the people and lifestyle of that country. That is the best way to have an unforgettable experience.


If you are looking for a more stable vacation, sometimes you should contact a travel agent and purchase a vacation package. Packages range in price, but you may be able to find a sale if you look hard enough. A discount package price will allow you to save more money for spending while you're in Europe. The benefit of vacation packages is that they will make sure you are on tours that explore all of the major attractions of a location, allowing for a worry- free vacation.

Bargain Vacations

The true key to getting a discount on a vacation, no matter where you go, is flexibility. You can save a great deal by taking advantage of bargains that only come up at certain times of the year and at certain places. These vacations are great if you can be flexible with:

* Which of the airlines you choose

* Which cruises you want to go on

* What you want to eat

* Where you want to stay

* When you want you leave

For example, if you have no particular goal in mind, but you just want to see Europe, then you will be able to find cheaper rates for traveling and staying in certain nations. Do not wait until the last-minute to start planning your vacation!

Stretching Every Dollar (or Euro)

Keep in mind that in other countries, prices are often times negotiable. Depending on where you go, especially in countries with weaker economies, you can often times haggle on the prices of your purchases, which will help you save a lot. This usually does not work with large-scale franchise businesses, but will almost always work with small local businesses.

Also, if you choose to eat at restaurants, a local restaurant is good in this respect because they will generally offer you lower prices then places that you are accredited to seeing in America. Remember, if you really want to make the most of your European vacation, then save money every chance you get, it will allow you to spend more on the things you like!