Monday, February 4, 2008

The Freedom to Be Monitored

The FBI is expected to announce in coming days the awarding of a $1 billion, 10-year contract to help create the database that will compile an array of biometric information -- from palm prints to eye scans.

Kimberly Del Greco, the FBI's Biometric Services section chief, said adding to the database is "important to protect the borders to keep the terrorists out, protect our citizens, our neighbors, our children so they can have good jobs, and have a safe country to live in."

This $1 billion expenditure will create jobs, at least several divisions within The Carlyle Group hope so. Authentec specializes in fingerprint ID technology. Their technology is used to secure computers and cell phones. The FBI already has 55 million fingerprints in their database. What happens if Uncle Sam asks the cell phone companies to share their fingerprint database with the feds? Will this fall under the proposed telecom immunity?

In addition to fingerprints, the FBI wants to store palm prints, iris scans, scars/tatoos, and facial shapes. Might Authentec be working on those technologies as well? Since the FBI wants to keep the country safe and protect its citizens, could it also want access to drug tests? A new Carlyle investment, eScreen, specializes in that very service. Not only does Uncle Sam want your key identifying information, he may just want to watch everyone pee. Things seem to be getting rather creepy in the land of the free and our ally across the pond.