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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Biometric Checkpoints in Trumpís America

    Biometric Checkpoints in Trump’s America

    Technological advances mean border screening could be more expansive than ever, if the government can get past the hurdles to implementing such a system.





    A Syrian refugee undergoes eye verification to receive her foodstuff at a refugee camp, in Mafraq, Jordan.Muhammad Hamed / Reuters



    President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban called for, among other things, the speedy completion of a “biometric entry-exit tracking system” for all travelers to the United States.

    If this sounds familiar, it’s because the idea has been debated in Washington for more than a decade. The implementation of such a system was one of the recommendations from the sprawling document known as the 9/11 Report, published 13 years ago by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.


    In fact, members of Congress mandated the creation of an enhanced entry-exit database before the attacks of 2001, as part of immigration reform in 1996. After the September 11 attacks, Congress set a 2006 deadline for the implementation the system, and specified that agencies government-wide—not just “scattered units at Homeland Security and the State Department”— should be able to access it.

    When the federal government missed that deadline, Congress issued a new target for 2009.


    Eight years later, it still hasn’t happened. There are several obstacles to creating the kind of system that officials in Washington have demanded. The accuracy of biometric identification systems and the cost of building such a system in the first place—plus government-wide computer upgrades that would be required to support its use—are all major considerations. Plus, airlines have so far refused to follow government rules that say they should collect and process biometric data from passengers leaving the United States.


    In the meantime, the technological landscape has changed dramatically. Advances in facial recognition software and long-range iris scanning—plus the mass adoption of smartphones—mean that a biometric entry-exit system could be far more expansive in 2017 than when such a system was first proposed.


    Biometric systems of the past collected fingerprints.

    Today’s systems can be built to recognize individual faces, even voiceprints. In the not-too-distant future, they will be able to identify someone by subtle behavioral cues: how they swipe their fingers across a touch screen, for example. With the advent of long-range iris scanning and the ubiquity of surveillance cameras, systems are also likely to become more passive—meaning, they’ll do the work of identifying people without requiring much (or any) active engagement from the person being identified.


    Already, most foreign nationals are required to have biometric data—fingerprints, passport photos—collected or checked when they arrive in the United States. Airline carriers and commercial ships collect information about people leaving the country—lists of passengers, for example—and share those manifests with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which maintains its own database.


    The idea behind a new biometric entry-exist system is to add layers of authenticating data—fingerprinting, iris scanning, facial recognition—to verify the identity of a person who is leaving the country, matching records against what was collected upon entry.

    Keeping track of foreigners who are coming and going, the thinking goes, could prevent a terrorist attack from being carried out in the United States by non-citizens overstaying their visas. The “large majority of jihadist terrorists in the United States,” however, have been American citizens or legal residents, according to a terrorism-tracking project by the think tank New America. “Every jihadist who conducted a lethal attack inside the United States since 9/11 was a citizen or legal resident,” according to New America’s research.


    There’s no reliable data reflecting how many people have entered the country and overstayed their visas, anyway. The Department of Homeland Security had a backlog of nearly 2 million “unmatched arrival records,” each indicating a foreign national who had entered the country but not yet left, according to a 2013 Government Accountability Office report. Yet Homeland Security records don’t take into account approved immigration status changes—like cases in which a person is granted a deferred departure.


    The Office of Biometric Identity Management, a division of Homeland Security, says it has already stopped “thousands of people who were ineligible to enter the United States.” At the same time, state-level identity bureaus are increasingly turning to biometrics for verifying that people are who they say—when they seek a driver’s license, for example.


    The identity-services firm MorphoTrust now partners with most states—35 of them by last count—on biometric data-collection systems. “We’ve got a great model,” said Bob Eckel, the MorphoTrust CEO, referring to how his firm’s work with the states could shape a federal biometric entry-exit system. And technology has finally reached a point, he says, where a federal system could be cost efficient.


    So far, even with federal funding and ongoing pilot programs, money has been a major sticking point.

    “Despite the call by some lawmakers for an exit system, airports and the airline industry have balked because it would cost airlines $3 billion, according to a 2013 Homeland Security estimate,” The New York Timesreported last year. “The department issued regulations in 2008 requiring airports to collect biometric exit information, but carriers have largely ignored the regulation, and there have been no sanctions.”


    The reliability of technological systems is, along with cost, the other substantial hurdle. What’s technically possible doesn’t always align with what’s practical.


    MorphoTrust already makes systems that use facial recognition software and machines that can collect fingerprints with the wave of a hand. Long-range iris scanning is still prohibitively expensive, Eckel says—but it’s coming.


    In the meantime, it would be easy to build a system that could use a network of cameras to verify travelers’ identities in real time as they move through an airport, Eckel told me. Such security systems could link up with mobile-apps so that a person could take a selfie while waiting in line at Customs to speed up the process. (The security-selfie is an idea MorphoTrust has floated for verifying a person’s identity in other sensitive transactions, such as credit card purchases.)


    Eckel makes it sound almost effortless, but there are still “major physical infrastructure, logistical, and operational hurdles to collect an individual’s biographic and biometric data upon departure,” according to a 2015 Homeland Security report.


    And despite significant technological advances in recent years, the possibility of misidentifications remains a serious issue. Even in the best facial-recognition systems, accuracy plummets as datasets grow.


    Identical twins are just one of many puzzling challenges for recognizing algorithms, a MorphoTrust vice president told me last fall. Machines also have trouble telling lookalikes apart—doppelgangers who aren’t genetically related—and systems can be easily tripped up by differences in lighting or angle.

    (Machine systems can even get stumped by someone making a goofy face. That’s why, one computer scientist recently told me, she wouldn’t trust a machine to tell the difference between Tom Hanks and Bill Murray in a widely circulated photo that confused plenty of humans, too.)


    Civil liberties advocates like the ACLU say the collection of biometric data poses “an extraordinary threat to privacy.” The possibility of inaccuracies made by a biometric exit-entry system pose a graver threat still. “Overreactions can impose high costs,” the 9/11 Commission wrote in its 2004 report, “on individuals, our economy, and our beliefs about justice.”


    An equally pressing concern, though, is how human judgment is applied to such systems—in cases of false positives and legitimate threats. “Four of the 9/11 attackers were pulled into secondary border inspection, but then admitted,” the 9/11 report says. “More than half of the 19 hijackers were flagged by the Federal Aviation Administration’s profiling system when they arrived for their flights, but the consequence was that bags, not people, were checked.”

    https://www.theatlantic.com/technolo...merica/516597/
    Last edited by JohnDoe2; 08-24-2018 at 03:47 PM.
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    US police agencies with their own DNA databases stir debate

    Posted: Mar 04, 2017 7:32 AM PST Updated: Mar 04, 2017 8:22 AM PST
    By MICHAEL BALSAMO

    Associated Press
    LOS ANGELES (AP) - Dozens of police departments around the U.S. are amassing their own DNA databases to track criminals, a move critics say is a way around regulations governing state and national databases that restrict who can provide genetic samples and how long that information is held.

    The local agencies create the rules for their databases, in some cases allowing samples to be taken from children or from people never arrested for a crime. Police chiefs say having their own collections helps them solve cases faster because they can avoid the backlogs that plague state and federal repositories.


    Frederick Harran, the public safety director in Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania, was an early adopter of a local database. Since it was created in 2010, he said robberies and burglaries have been gone down due to arrests made because of the DNA collection.


    Harran said the Pennsylvania state lab takes up to 18 months to process DNA taken from a burglary scene but with the local database authorities go through a private lab and get results within a month. He said he uses money from assets seized from criminals to pay for the private lab work.


    "If they are burglarizing and we don't get them identified in 18 to 24 months, they have two years to keep committing crimes," he said.


    DNA is found in cells and provides a genetic blueprint unique to each person. Blood, saliva, semen, hair, and skin are among the biological clues a criminal might leave at a crime scene and investigators need only a few cells to create a profile.


    Police typically get a DNA sample by swabbing the inside of a person's mouth. That sample can then be compared against others in a database to see if a match occurs.


    Some police departments collect samples from people who are never arrested or convicted of crimes, though in all such cases the person is supposed to voluntarily comply and not be coerced or threatened.


    State and federal authorities typically require a conviction, arrest or warrant before a sample is entered into their collections.


    "The local databases have very, very little regulations and very few limits, and the law just hasn't caught up to them," said Jason Kreig, a law professor at the University of Arizona who has studied the issue. "Everything with the local DNA databases is skirting the spirit of the regulations."


    It's unclear how many police departments maintain their own DNA databanks because they are subject to no state or federal oversight, but police in California, Florida, Connecticut and Pennsylvania have spoken publicly about their local databases. Harran said he knows of about 60 departments using local databases.


    In San Diego, in addition to voluntary samples taken from adults, police officers are allowed to take samples from juveniles who aren't arrested or convicted as long as they are for investigative purposes and the children sign a consent form. After the sample is taken, a police officer is required to contact the child's parent or legal guardian to tell them a DNA swab was collected.


    The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against San Diego last month alleging the policy "purports to sideswipe" restrictions implemented by a California state law that bars those samples from being entered into the state's DNA database.


    When police officers take DNA samples from children without a court order, "it's hard to imagine it's anything other than coerced or involuntary," said Bardis Vakili, an ACLU attorney who is spearheading the lawsuit.


    "I think they are trying to avoid transparency and engage in forms of surveillance," he said. "We don't know what's done other than it goes into their lab and is kept in a database."


    A San Diego police spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit and wouldn't provide additional information about the department's policy.


    San Diego, the nation's eighth-largest city, has about 1.4 million people and a very large database, while Branford, Connecticut, population 28,000, has just 500 samples in its collection.


    Still, Chief Daniel Halloran said the database has helped solve crimes and eliminate other people as suspects. The department has implemented strict guidelines to ensure samples are voluntary and they do not take samples from juveniles, he said.


    "It's not like we're pulling over motorists and asking them for DNA," Halloran said. "There has to be some sort of correlation to a crime."

    http://www.newson6.com/story/3466491...-dna-databases
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    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    There should be no DNA testing except for an investigation of a murder, first degree rape and terrorism. There should be no storage of the data unless and until there's a trial.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    There should be no DNA testing except for an investigation of a murder, first degree rape and terrorism. There should be no storage of the data unless and until there's a trial.
    It is not a small distinction to make between "testing" DNA and just sampling DNA for purposes of identification.

    I am opposed to universal testing of DNA by the government. But I have no objections to the government collecting DNA for purposes of identification only.

    The problem is how do you avoid blurring the difference between testing and simple identification? Every part of your DNA performs some function, which is unlike taking a retinal ID which has no reflection on the functioning of the eye. Or fingerprints where the differences have no role in the function of the fingers.

    It's rather like websites like Facebook legally obliged to protect your privacy. The only thing that determines that is some lawyer. There is nothing to prevent Facebook from violating your privacy except for the threats of lawsuits. And who is going to do that? Physically, your information sits on Facebook computers and really, there is nothing to prevent Facebook from violating your privacy.
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    By KRIS VAN CLEAVE CBS NEWS December 28, 2017, 6:49 PM

    Airlines testing technology to replace boarding passes

    ARLINGTON, V.A. - With more than 2 million people per day moving through the nation's airports, airlines are testing new technology to improve security and speed up the boarding process. That includes new biometric technology that could mean boarding a plane with just your face.

    Airlines like JetBlue are trying out facial recognition technology

    CBS NEWS
    CBS News saw one JetBlue flight from Boston to Aruba with passengers who were allowed to get on the plane without a boarding pass.

    "It amazes me," said one passenger on the flight. "Every year things change. It just amazes me, the technology."


    In seconds, facial recognition technology can compare a picture taken at the gate against the flier's passport picture stored in a government database.


    Delta is testing the technology in New York and Atlanta, as well as a facial recognition bag-drop in Minneapolis. It's part of a larger effort to allow passengers to navigate the airport with just their faces and fingerprints.


    "Marrying all of the technologies at each of the steps in the travel ribbon is a game changer for the experience," said Gareth Joyce, senior vice president of airport customer service and president of cargo at Delta. "You can literally go from, you know, curb to plane without having to interact with a human being if you so desire."

    Clear is one option used at airports to cut down on long security lines

    CBS NEWS
    There's also Clear, a private company that stores and verifies customers' biometrics, allowing fliers to go to the front of the security line at 24 airports nationwide.

    But a new report questions if it's legal for the government to use facial recognition on American citizens. Two senators are asking Customs and Border Protection to halt expansion of the testing amid security concerns.


    "As we consolidate biometric data into big databases and we use it more and more, those databases will become targets, and the risk of data breach increases greatly," said Jeramie Scott, with the Electronic Privacy Information Center.


    The Transportation Security Administration is testing fingerprint verification at checkpoints in at least two airports, and at Reagan National, certain Delta flyers can already use their fingerprint as their boarding pass.

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/airline...arding-passes/

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  10. #10
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    I am totally opposed to all of this "ID" technology. It's ridiculous. They aren't doing this to track immigrants, they're doing this to track the American People. We aren't enforcing visas because until Trump was elected no one in the powers that be wanted them to leave, the same reason we don't secure our borders or deport illegal aliens. The visa-overstay problem doesn't exist because of a lack of technology, it's a lack of will to enforce immigration law. Their passports and visas are all they need to verify who they are, same as any photo ID. We don't have this problem because of their "IDs", we have this problem because no one follows up to make sure they left the country.
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