The Biometric Delusion

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Blogg, Aug 17, 2009.

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  1. This what tends to happen if you only listen to people who tell you what you want to hear. If only half of this is correct stand by for yet another uber-expensive IT disaster

    Collar the lot of us! The biometric delusion

    Optimism beats evidence in the drive to fingerprint the world

    ".......why do politicians and civil servants all over the world continue to advocate the use of biometrics when the evidence simply doesn’t support them? There is no answer. Their behaviour is inexplicable.

    One thing is clear, though, and that is that biometrics cannot deliver. Identification is not feasible. Verification is laughably unreliable. And the flat earther David Blunkett is wrong. So is Tony Blair when he says that “biometrics give us the chance to have secure identity”. And so is Gordon Brown when he says that biometrics “will make it possible to securely link an individual to a unique identity”.

    The scale of the institutional fantasy which constitutes the NIS is grotesque. Biometrics cannot underpin the NIS and so, by IPS’s logic, the NIS cannot underpin the “interactions and transactions between individuals, public services and businesses”. Safeguarding Identity is a false prospectus – no properly managed stock exchange would allow its shares to be listed. The NIS is guaranteed to fail.*"
  2. Ah, yes. The base rate fallacy, the birthday paradox, broken <cough> cutting edge <cough> technology and far too many overpaid consultants. All adding up to one steaming heap of government poo which could only be made worse by being outsourced to EDS.
  3. Same goes for the fallacy about 'global warming'. There are problems but they will not be solved by the fatuous, expensive and inefficient windmills. Nuclear is the answer, so let us ask our friends the French to build some nuclear power stations for us. We don't 'do building' in Bliar's Britain anymore - just:

    benefit swindling,
    welcoming bogus asylum seekers,
    conduct illegal invasions,
    favour criminals against victims,
    breed chavs,
    allow all European filth in to enjoy all our 'benefits',
    political correctness,
    'Elf & Safety nonsense,
    'Uman Rights twaddle,
    levelling everyone and everything down to the lowest possible level (except politicians of course),
    lick Brussels's arse,
    lick all European Soviet Union arses,
    disgrace ourselves as often as possible,
    have an appalling Notional 'Elf System (the concept of 'Service' in Britain long since disappeared)
    and generally f*ck up everything we touch.

    Bliar, you ruined a great country!
  4. I can't help thinking back to the late 1990's when, as a businessman I was assailed from almost every quarter by people planning, preventing, advising and making huge sums of money on the back of Y2K. For those who have forgotten or didn't know, Y2K was the belief that all computers would cease to function at midnight on 31st December 1999. An enormous industry was built up around the supposition with the Government getting caught up in the panic. I can't remember how many briefing I attended run by various Government Agencies.
    When 2000 came and went without a hitch then it was the turn of the Euro Adoption crowd who wanted to hold briefings and create panic about the adoption of the Euro. 'You'll have to re-write all your contracts'. 'You'll have to change all your accounting software'. 'You'll have to reprogramme all your tills' etc ad nauseam. The Government must have spent a fortune on it and yet more 'Government Advisors', people actually paid to go round and talk about all this crap were crawling all over the place.
    Let's not even mention Global Warming which many scientists laugh at and consider an enormous red herring. Our leaders have decided that biometrics are the way forward and there is nothing on this earth that will stop the biometric juggernaut now it has got rolling. It probably wont be long before some underpaid. overworked, schedule hassled clerk somewhere marries the wrong biometric data to the wrong identity and that person might as well be reborn because the chances of their being able correct any error (assuming they even know about it) are practically zero until they find themselves on death row in America because their falsely matched fingerprints have turned up at a murder scene.
  5. Ah yes :twisted: The Y2K advisor to Mugabe was an ex-RAOC Officer. He was one of those guys who could charm the pants off any woman and had the easy-going Flashman attitude. He made a small fortune.

    Did I mention he knew fcuk all about computers?
  6. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    The Register. Heh.

    Can we all fashion tinfoil hats out of Cadburys wrappers and put them on our heads now?

    The Register was mildly amusing about ten years ago. But today? A bunch of tree-hugging paranoid alien watchers trying their best to get noticed.

    Biometrics was crap when The Register first started bleating on about identity theft, ten years ago. But today the plot has changed. The Register has not.

    So, anybody care to tell me just how biometrics today does not work?

    Fingerprint, iris, face & gait....

    In your own time...
  7. Come again? I think you'll find virtually all scientists agree that Global Warming is a real phenomenon, the debate there is not that the earth is warming (it is) but whether mankind is the cause (and most scientists believe we are). Sloppy post... be ashamed of yourself.

    Back to the original post... no system is 100% secure. At somepoint the data will be handled by a person, who can be bribed or just simply get something wrong. The question is, after your 'secure' bio-data has been entered incorrectly - how do you prove your identity?

  8. It boils down to one thing, it's not reliable enough to be a single source of ID. True biometrics (recognition) will read and compare your iris/fingerprint/whatever to the stored information on the database, when the database contains 60,000,000 records this is impossibly slow, even for one read. Multiply that by the 10,000 or so demands on the system nationwide every minute and it can't possibly work. Even small scale trials are successful only 80% of the time. The Government are proposing to develop a technology that the industry largely rejects on a scale unheard of before and make it reliable (and cheap) and futureproof, all this from an organisation that has an appalling record with even small IT projects (JPA anyone).

    The other form of biometrics (verification) relies on comparing the biometric data with data held on a carrier (the ID card), this does work however it is vunerable. If the data on the card can be altered or deleted you run the risk of becoming someone else, being cloned or even becoming a non-person, you have no other means to prove who you are.

    A single database would be one of the biggest hacker targets in the world, hackers don't do it for financial gain, they do it for fun, one will succeed one day, how will the UK cope if it's only method of ID falls down, how indeed will the techheads who need to fix it get past the extensive security around the database without a working biometric/ID card system.

    It's a huge white elephant, it will never work.
  9. That was a very real risk at the time. Can you remember why? I can. It was because almost all computers built up to the time when the problem was realised only had a 2 figure year date in their internal clocks.

    In the run-up to 2000 such things where happening as stock getting rejected in supply chains due to being out of date as computers where seing articles with use by dates as 00 or so.

    It is tantamount to the success of the Y2K projects that supply chains etc did not go belly up in 2000.
  10. Except that nothing happened and the charlatans that were trying to make so much money out of Y2K were doing it from about '95. Since most operating systems are updated every year or two they had plenty of time to rectify any possible problem and as I said to the engineer from IBM who wanted £7000 to 'update and certify' my 7 month old system, don't worry, if it goes wrong I'll be straight down to trading standards as this system is 7 months old and it's October 99. My system stops working it's your problem not mine. Y2K was one of the biggest cons ever perpetrated.
  11. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    Yes it is. Its spoof Proof, hack proof, 'Buddy' proof and verifiable at the point of demand, 100%. In trials across the demographic from age 8 to 108.

    What I think you, and the Register are saying, is biometrics will not work with a national database, and you are both right. For reasons stated.

    But it doesnt need to.

    Biometric technology can and will work with existing protocols.

    We have no need for a national database, and the biometric Tech people never said we did. That was politicians.
  12. Not really. Y2K was jumped on and milked by some con-men granted. But the date in older PCs needed a new chip I think. It was to change the date format from xx/yy/zz to xx/yy/zzzz IIRC. I dont think "mainframe" type computers are changed on a regular basis and they where the main worry.
  13. I'm curious as to how it validates the biometric "offering", there are only two types, recognition and verification. Recognition we both know requires a database and is impractical, verification really only replaces the large database with a small one that you carry around (your ID card), it's that card that's vunerable. How many Oyster cards does TfL replace each year as lost, broken or stolen.

    Incidentally with verification the big database still exists in order to issue the ID card, it's just not "online" as it were.

    Is there another way that I'm not aware of?
  14. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    Not sure what you mean here, but biometrics absolutely verifies that you are, who you say you are. And it does it at the point of verification.

    Your signature was your early biometrics, and it could be forged. Your fingerprint / iris / whatever, cannot.

    If you, and the register, want to take that into a debate about a national ID database, thats a whole other debate.

    The chip in your mobile phone, or credit card can track you. Latents taken from the drinks can you threw in the bin can be used against you.

    But that doesnt make the technology bad. It maybe makes the use of the technology bad.

    So dont slag biometrics for what people will do with it.
  15. What happens though if your biometric details are applied to the wrong identity? You apply for a passport at the same time as Ian Duke and his biometrics are applied to your identity and vice versa. How does anyone know the mistake has been made? The record shows that your biometrics belong to Ian Duke, how does Iron Duke get his identity back?