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As the FBI prepares to expand biometric database, civil liberty groups express concern

FBI preps award for biometric database Center for Identification Technology Research [pdf] CBC Archives: The Long Lens of the Law [pdf] Latent Print Examination Law enforcement officials have drawn on a number of techniques to track and locate criminals, and interest in new surveillance techniques has grown exponentially in recent years. While fingerprints remain a popular way of keeping tabs on criminals and others, emerging identification techniques include eye scans, palm prints, and other pieces of biometric information. In the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has expressed interested in creating a massive computer database by cataloging people's physical characteristics. The project, which was announced this week, is designed to better identify criminals and terrorists, but it has also drawn criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union and other civil liberties organizations. The FBI already has 55 million sets of fingerprints on file, and it hopes to combine these prints with various pieces of biometric information in order to positively identify potential suspects. Some people are already concerned about the erosion of individual privacy, including Barry Steinhardt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Technology and Liberty Project. Responding to this recent initiative, he commented, "This had started out to being a program to track or identify criminals. Now we're talking about large swaths of the population'workers, volunteers in youth programs. Eventually, it's going to be everybody." The first link will take users to a recent story from CNN that discusses this new database. The second link leads to a news story from The State (Columbia, SC) which talks about the companies vying for the contracts that will be awarded as part of work on this database. Moving on, the third link leads to the homepage of the Center for Identification Technology Research at West Virginia University. The fourth link will take users to a fascinating series of short films from the CBC Archives site that probe the use of closed-circuit television (CCTV) in various surveillance settings. The fifth link leads to, which is the central online clearinghouse for information on the biometrics-related activities of the United States government. The last link will take users to the Latent Print Examination site, which is a terrific way to learn about the latest news from the world of fingerprints and fingerprint-related technologies. Additionally, the site also contains information on palm prints and footprints in a host of languages.
Alternate Title
FBI wants palm prints, eye scans, tattoo mapping
Scout Publication
Date Issued
February 8th, 2008
Data Type
Date of Scout Publication
February 8th, 2008
Date Of Record Creation
February 8th, 2008 at 7:51am
Date Of Record Release
February 8th, 2008 at 10:30am
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