Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts tagged Biometrics

law-justice

A new ruling states that criminal defendants can be compelled to give up their fingerprints, but not a pass code in allowing police to search a cellphone. The issue arose during the case of David Baust, who was charged with trying to strangle his girlfriend.

Prosecutors had said video equipment in Baust’s bedroom may have recorded the couple’s fight and, if so, the video could be on his cellphone. They wanted a judge to force Baust to unlock his phone, but Baust’s attorney, James Broccoletti, argued pass codes are protected by the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits forced self-incrimination.

Judge Steven C. Frucci ruled this week that giving police a fingerprint is akin to providing a DNA or handwriting sample or an actual key, which the law permits. A pass code, though, requires the defendant to divulge knowledge, which the law protects against, according to Frucci’s written opinion.

According to Judge Steven C. Fucci, while a criminal defendant can’t be compelled to hand over a passcode to police officers for the purpose of unlocking a cellular device, law enforcement officials can compel a defendant to give up a fingerprint.

With this power, the police can search a cellphone. What one person may think is innocent, the police might find cause for concern. That cute photograph of your child taking a bath could be construed as child pornography. A judge may later see it as the innocent picture it was meant to be, but you have now been fingerprinted, photographed and jailed. You’re innocent, but you may have already lost your job, reputation, family and friends.

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fingerprint

Pupils at Redhill School in Stourbridge, United Kingdom are set to have their fingerprints taken. The schools say the controversial technology is part of a cashless system throughout the school and is necessary to reduce queues and monitor pupils’ diets.

The 1,200-pupil school in Junction Road detailed its plans in a letter to parents last month. Headteacher Stephen Dunster said the scheme was part of a long-term plan to allow parents to pay for any school related fees over the internet.

He said: “We are aiming to have a cashless system throughout the school. The catering system is better for parents because they don’t have to provide children with lunch money every morning. From our perspective it is far more efficient as it reduces waiting times.”

“We will also be able to monitor what children are buying to make sure they are eating a healthy diet.”

Just because a student takes an orange to eat for lunch does not mean the student eats that orange. You can force children to take healthy foods at lunch, but you can’t make them eat it.

Around half of Dudley’s secondary schools use some form of biometric system. But its use has come under fire from civil liberties campaigners, who fear the information could be stored on school databases. Mr Dunster added: “We don’t hold fingerprints on file. This is about using technology to benefit our pupils and parents.”

If the fingerprints are not held on file, who has them? Who has access to these fingerprints and how secure are they?

More at the Express and Star.

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Facial recognition software has come a long way in the past few years. While early face recognition software needed human input at every step, it’s advanced enough today that it can compare a single face against millions of faces on record in just a few seconds.

Face-Recognition

Source.

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Ralph Lauren is the first luxury lifestyle brand to offer apparel that tracks and streams real-time workout data directly to your smartphone or tablet.

From Wired UK:

The shirt has biosensing silver fibres woven into its core and it can therefore be used to track distance, calories burned, movement intensity, heart rate and stress rate in real time. The moisture-wicking compression fabric apparently also increases blood circulation and aids muscle recovery — although this is the aim of much existing athletic garb.

The shirts have been created with the help of Canadian tech company OMsignal. The data collected by the shirt is stored in a black box, which incorporates an accelerometer and gyroscope. This black box then transmits data into the cloud, where it encounters a number of algorithms that pick out the key biometrics and psychometrics that the athlete, and maybe their coach, will want to know.

This black box is a separate device that can fit comfortably in the palm of your hand and will last for up to 30 workouts before it needs recharging. It fits into the Ralph Lauren shirt and will ensure all the relevant data is properly transmitted to the app on your smartphone in real-time.

It should also be noted that OMsignal have a number of similar products already on the market that are no doubt cheaper than the Ralph Lauren version will be — and even then, they ain’t cheap.

More at Ralph Lauren.

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