Privacy is a growing concern in the United States and around the world. The vast reaches of the Internet and the seemingly infinite options for collecting, saving, sharing, and comparing information trigger legitimate apprehension. The recent FBI request of custom access to an iPhone used by one of the two terrorists who killed 14 people in San Bernardino brought the debate surrounding privacy vs. security to the forefront. Our reports examine the state of privacy in the information age and the policies that currently exist to protect personal user privacy.
Recently biometrics has been in the news as a key to identifying the body of Osama bin Laden after the raid in Pakistan. Heightening security concerns around the world are leading to an expanded use of automated recognition technologies for individuals based on their behavioral and biological characteristics. Biometric systems are used increasingly to recognize individuals and regulate access to physical spaces, information, services, and other rights or benefits.
Because biometric systems use sensed traits to recognize individuals, privacy, legal, and sociological factors are involved in all applications. Biometrics in this sense sits at the intersection of biological, behavioral, social, legal, statistical, mathematical, and computer sciences as well as sensor physics and philosophy. It is no wonder that this complex set of technologies called biometrics has fascinated the government and the public for decades.
Biometric Recognition: Challenges and Opportunities provides a comprehensive assessment of biometric recognition that examines current capabilities, future possibilities, and the role of government in technology and system development This book addresses issues of effectiveness, design, and uncertainty surrounding broader implementation of this technology.
Who Goes There? Authentication Through the Lens of Privacy explores authentication technologies (passwords, PKI, biometrics, etc.) and their implications for the privacy of the individuals being authenticated. This book offers a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that an individual’s privacy is not unnecessarily compromised, whether by commercial or government organizations.
These books and others from the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board can add perspective and contribute to discussion.
||Biometric Recognition: Challenges and Opportunities
Biometric recognition–the automated recognition of individuals based on their behavioral and biological characteristic–is promoted as a way to help identify terrorists, provide better control of access to physical facilities and financial accounts, and…
||Who Goes There?: Authentication Through the Lens of Privacy
Who Goes There?: Authentication Through the Lens of Privacy explores authentication technologies (passwords, PKI, biometrics, etc.) and their implications for the privacy of the individuals being authenticated. As authentication becomes ever more…
||Summary of a Workshop on the Technology, Policy, and Cultural Dimensions of Biometric Systems
Biometricsthe use of physiological and behavioral characteristics for identification purposeshas been promoted as a way to enhance security and identification efficiency. There are questions, however, about, among other issues, the effectiveness of biometric…
||Engaging Privacy and Information Technology in a Digital Age
Privacy is a growing concern in the United States and around the world. The spread of the Internet and the seemingly boundaryless options for collecting, saving, sharing, and comparing information trigger consumer worries. Online practices of business and…
||Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists: A Framework for Program Assessment
All U.S. agencies with counterterrorism programs that collect or “mine” personal data — such as phone records or Web sites visited — should be required to evaluate the programs’ effectiveness, lawfulness, and impacts on privacy. A framework is…
Recent debate over full-body scanners at airport security checkpoints once again highlights the issues we face in balancing security with privacy. We are observed at work, in stores, and on the street by security systems. By our own choice, we use online resources to bank, shop, contact friends and family, and apply for loans. In countless other ways we may unknowingly reveal personal information. Technological advances in biometric recognition, data mining, e-commerce and behavioral surveillance all raise questions about exactly how personal our personal information is.
Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists examines existing privacy laws to assess how privacy can be protected in current and future programs. Law-abiding citizens leave extensive digital tracks, and so do criminals and terrorists. Gathering and analyzing electronic, behavioral, biological, and other information can play major roles in the prevention, detection, and mitigation of terrorist attacks, just as they do against other criminal threats. This book provides a framework for making decisions about deploying and evaluating information-based programs on the basis of their effectiveness and associated risks to personal privacy.
Released this year, Biometric Recognition: Challenges and Opportunities deals with unresolved questions about the effectiveness and management of systems for biometric recognition, as well as the appropriateness and societal impact of their use. These books and other titles from the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board can inform and guide discussion of this important issue.