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March 31, 2004

Another New Tool [8:26 am]

Will it get the same degree of scrutiny about legal and illegal uses that other technical innovations have? Oracle joins race to bring RFID to retailers and Oracle unveils next round of RFID solutions. For example, there’s this application: Passport Safety, Privacy Face Off, raising the interesting question of the extent to which "information will set you free"

An international aviation group is completing new passport standards this week, setting the groundwork for all passports issued worldwide to include digitized photographs that a computer can read remotely and compare to the face of the traveler or to a database of mug shots.

Supporters hope the system will banish fake passports and help fight terrorism. But critics say the standards will enable a global infrastructure for surveillance and lead to a host of national biometric databases, including ones run by countries with troubling human rights records.

[...] The ICAO has already settled on facial recognition as the standard biometric identifier, though countries may add fingerprints or iris scans if they wish. The standards body will vote on Friday whether to adopt radio-frequency ID chips, such as those used in Fast Pass toll systems, as the standard method of storing and transmitting the digitized information.

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