19 Sep 2012

Iris Imaging for Identification – A Good Idea?

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Biometric cards that are produced for federal contractors and employees may be updated to include iris scanning in addition to fingerprinting for increased safety measures.

A revised draft of Special Publication 800-76-2 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) now includes a section that would entail the use of iris scanning as biometric identification if a worker did not have fingerprints or if fingerprinting was problematic.

The new draft includes specifications for this new type of scanning for personal identity verification (PIV) cards that individuals will use to confirm their identity as well as for iris image capture interface and iris recognition interface. The revised document will also include terms for a choice agencies have to add an algorithm that would enable on-card comparison of fingerprints instead of requiring a personal ID number (PIN) when checking a person’s qualifications.

This will require a cardholder to enter his or her PIN number to check the card credentials against the card reader for added security measures. In the new draft, agencies can also choose to include an algorithm on the card that would remove the need for people to enter their PIN to check their credentials.

Many critics of this new document will say that the plan is big government and that it is a huge intrusion on people’s rights and privacy.

In fact, iris scanning is not an inappropriate involvement of the government in our lives. It is a new and highly advanced form of protection, aimed to reduce identity fraud, increase homeland security and efficiency, cut costs, and protects citizen’s personal identity and privacy by requiring biometric identification for all of the government’s federal employees and contractors when they enter federal facilities or IT systems or networks.

In today’s society where technology reigns supreme, it is vital for citizens to be protected by highly advanced identification systems. Cybersecurity is now one of the main concerns of the federal government and the biometric identity system is one of many steps that they are taking to make sure Americans are protected both externally and internally.

It may seem like a breach in your privacy, but the government is only trying to protect you. Iris scanning is just a more advanced form of personal identification to ensure that crucial information does not end up in the wrong hands.

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