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How Do Biometrics Impact Privacy?


The research question for this essay is going to be how Biometrics influences Privacy. This specific question is chosen because in the increasing range of biometrics systems that are emerging, which includes increased the risk of invading privateness. The issue that is going to be mentioned in this paper is the fact how increasing biometrics technology has brought up concerns with regards to the protection of individual privateness and gets the government got biometric technology a step too much in invading personal privacy. This problem is important because as increasingly more biometric technology makes use, the safety of privacy is likely to be taken away and individuals have the right to keep certain information about themselves private and also have the "right to be kept alone". The debate is that how can the government gather biometrics of individuals with no too much information, and pointless information. Businesses and organisations that keep information about their employees and other individuals, surely must be regarding about how safe the info is and the way the business uses these details for the right reasons.


Biometrics has been used more frequently in everyday life, they are being used for verification as after 9/11 security has been tightened and even more investigations on people are being performed. More checks mean that more information is necessary about individuals including biometric information, this causes a whole new topic of should company should be allowed to acquire biometric data? Is this not a step too far? All this talk about biometrics being found in various places, but what is biometrics? Biometrics is the assortment of personal data such as fingerprints, iris, retina, words, hand geometry etc. All these characteristics are stored on the centralised repository where they can identify individuals who are criminals. This type of technology is used mostly almost everywhere now with the aim to cut down on crime. Biometrics are being used more by organisations and governments, because biometrics is "accurate discrimination between individuals,

Over the years, Biometric Technology has been considered as a way of measuring the best security method. The primary reason for the utilization of biometric technology is to cut down on criminal activities, as Dr Ann Cavoukian says in the journal Privacy and Biometrics, that finger marks are being used by the police to identify criminals. This, some would say is a encouraging move in order to prevent legal activities, but on the other palm some would improve the question that, is biometric technology a step too much in invading individual's level of privacy?. The increasing use of Biometrics has lifted concerns regarding specific level of privacy, as Prabhakar says in the journal Biometric Recognition: Security and Level of privacy Concerns "Those who desire to remain anonymous in virtually any particular situation could be denied their personal privacy by biometric recognition". Individuals have the to protect their personal privacy and have control of what information others should have about them, in the newspaper Level of privacy and or as Liberty, Gos Hosein, says "individuals must be allowed to choose what information is manufactured available about themselves, and under which circumstances". Biometrics however, will not allow individuals to have an option on what information may be stored, as the directories have individuals, fingerprints, hands geometry, iris and also voice, many major companies have individual's personal stats, but realizing that your individual features are stored away on the data source can be somewhat of a concern. These concerns are all valid, as all of this information can be hacked, or even leaked. Billy Hawkes, Data Coverage Commissioner of Ireland said that "Personal information might be distributed to third functions, with or with out a person's knowledge". There are always high hazards, when private information is stored of several millions of individuals, the key issue that concerns many people is the fact how safe is this information.

Biometrics is utilized as a way to obtain identification and confirmation by the authorities against criminals. Fingerprints are the most typical use for indentifying criminals and the use of fingerprints date back to 1879, in which a French policeman called Alphonse Bertillon suggested "that people could be specifically discovered by carefully measuring different parts of the body", but aside from fingerprints other styles of biometrics are also used such as retina, iris and words prints. All this information come up with can create a "personal profile" of specific. The more extensive use of biometrics has induced privacy issues where there are organisations keeping vast amount of data about individuals that may well not be needed, in which case people should have control on what information has been stored and why. People don't have a say on what information can be stored or not, there must be a law that folks should have the right and a say on what information can be stored. Organisations having these details about people, shows that there exists someone always keeping an vision on people and monitoring their every move. This brings in this issue of "big Brother". In the united kingdom there up as much as 4. 2million CCTV camera's, that's equivalent one camera per 14 individuals, which imply that "each individual in the country is found on camera an average of 300 times daily". This information show that individuals in UK are being trapped on CCTV up to 300 times each day, this influences individuals personal privacy in an enormous manner, as the images captured on CCTV, they may be stored over a database where in fact the police may use the images to resolve crimes. But the question here's if the capturing of images and keeping them on databases be allowed? Most personal privacy advocates would be from this but people are who are for additional security and split down on criminal offenses wouldn't therefore brain these databases stocking images.

The upsurge in modern technology these days allows biometrics to uniquely indentify individuals. The power of biometrics technology to get this done has increased concerns regarding privateness even more than before. Increasingly more biometrics is being used in everyday activities, for example biometrics are use in school, universities and organisations. Through biometrics in this manner, individuals are likely to be monitored more and more.

Biometrics affects level of privacy in a huge way, it has made people and privacy advocates wonder that will there be such thing as level of privacy in the modern day, with all the current new technology evolving. The question many people are asking is the fact, can biometrics be used in such a way that it generally does not affect individual's level of privacy? Ann Cavoukian recommended that for authentication, you don't have to store biometrics on a centralised database; the individuals can be presenting a card, that includes a template of their biometrics stored on the card and it is on the hands on the average person, "A template could be stored over a card, in ownership of the individual, thereby placing the control over gain access to in the palm of the info subject". This will reduce the risk of invasion in privateness considerably, since more biometrics data will be in the hands of the individuals and the very thought of having that private information about them with them, will make the public feel safer. Id cards are scheduled to be created in the united kingdom either in 2011 or 2012. These credit cards will contain 2 fingerprints and a photography which is encoded on the chip which will be on the credit cards itself. This technique will be thought to be being safer by the general public, as they have their own biometrics with themselves and the information that is in the directories would be the same as the info that is stored on the chip. This will likely determine that only bare minimum information is known to other people. There's also drawbacks to this practise, as the identification greeting card can be lost or taken, meaning the folks biometrics are in the hands of someone else.

Heathrow airport terminal has launched the utilization of fingerprint acceptance, when terminal 5 was exposed back in 2008. This may be used to make sure that the right people are boarding the air travel as well to be photographed. Is all of this really necessary? For years airports have used passports for verification, just what exactly is the necessity to use biometrics, gather personal information and invade people privateness. David Millward and Gordan Rayner said in the Telegraph that gathering private information "will make innocent people feel just like bad guys". Launching fingerprint identification systems at international airports is you should breaching all protection under the law to level of privacy for individual people. The actual fact of travellers being photographed when joining the air port and saving the images on their database in wrong, because passengers may not give permission for his or her photo being taken and keeping them on the repository. There is always a threat of these images and biometric information getting in the hands of the incorrect people.

There is definitely going to be that threat of privacy being invaded by various organisations and day-to-day activities. In the end these threats to individual's privateness and personal information, where does this leave privateness according to individuals? Well, many people would say that all these organisations and government having personal information and also keeping biometrics, contributes to the individuals having no type of level of privacy what so ever before. In the newspaper Personal privacy and or as Independence compiled by hoesin gus, there is a offer from William Pitt declaring "There are many other means of defining privacy. In an early form, as me changed towards modern democratic systems of governance, privateness was considered as a coverage from invasion. " Privateness has come a long way through the years and still it is constantly on the increase in terms of individual level of privacy. As the years have gone on privacy has got beyond control, in conditions of what information should organisations and governments have about individuals. You can find some information that needs to be kept with the average person. Should organisations be allowed the have just as much information as they wish? Or only information that they might need? Information regarding individuals can be probably dangerous because that information can be offered to the wrong hands which can lead to identity fraud.

Biometric Technology has come quite a distance in conditions of authentication and popularity, the question is that is are these systems safe. To build biometric systems the design of it has to be very good and an extremely safe system. Some say that biometrics is neither good nor harmful to privacy, it's the way the public view privacy, and a lot of people would be in favour of biometrics systems and some people would be against biometrics. Regarding to Timothy Pilgrim, "Biometric technology aren't inherently good or harmful to personal privacy. They become good or harmful to privacy depending about how they were created, developed and deployed. " Timothy Pilgrim shows that biometrics is neither good nor bad for privacy, since it will depend on how these systems are used and what folks label of it. Biometrics is definitely a topic of controversy, on how might it be used and how the information will be stored. The view on biometrics appears to be divided relating to Pilgrim. The use of biometrics is bring piloted in the UK by means of Identity cards. These identity credit cards will be handed out to every person that live in the UK. These ID credit cards will have a chip with them that will hold private information also including biometrics of that person. That is a good way of keeping biometric information safe, as this credit card will maintain the ownership of the individuals so they can keep their personal information safe. However the drawback is that if that credit card gets lost, or taken then others will have your details. Are ID credit cards a part of the right route in conditions of biometrics? Well it's a start, as the individuals will have their own information with them, as in the past that is not an option. This ID card is said to be "similar in look to a UK driving licence but retains more data, including two fingerprints and an image encoded on a chip"

Privacy is a sensitive subject over a long time and the advantages of biometrics has not helped the situation. Collecting biometric information has induced a whole lot of controversy in the world. Is it directly to acquire people biometric information and store it without their authorization? Most people would say no and would protest about the fact that the government authorities and organisations are undertaking this activity. In 2001 at a superbowl game in Florida, they used cosmetic recognition biometrics to recognize known criminals and terrorists. This action has been launched after the September 9, 2001 episodes. After that the biometric industry has been "booming" regarding to Privacy Today: AN ASSESSMENT of Current (2002).


Biometrics is employed worldwide now, from air-port security to confirmation for an workplace in an organisation. Biometrics is a part of life that will continue. Collecting personal information of individuals could not get any worse. Individuals have a right to safeguard their privacy, which include documents and their biometrics. As technology rises, biometrics will play a significant part in authentication and id. But collecting all of this information and using biometrics for the aforementioned reason causes serious level of privacy issues. The individual's data is in the hands of someone else and there's always a threat of that information getting leaked and slipping in to the wrong hands. There are a lot of drawbacks in using biometric technology, lots of things have to be considered when using fingerprint and face popularity. Using these techniques can invade individual's personal space and collecting too much private information about individuals is not respecting their privateness. Biometrics has come quite a distance in terms of security and can continue to increase and used more about the world. All these biometrics getting used, what you can do to safeguard individuals? How do information about individuals become more protected, this is a area which people need to take into account, personal information about individuals should be stored with them and must not be shared within organisations. So what does this mean for biometrics and privacy? Well the utilization of biometrics will increase, and is likely to be used is most general population places, how can organisations keep a balance between using and collecting private information and respecting people's privateness. In this specific article the topic of level of privacy has been mentioned, and how biometrics is invading individual's personal space, by collecting private information about them. To conclude, biometrics has its advantages, by getting known scammers and reducing terrorism, but at the expense of all this is to invade people level of privacy and personal space.

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