Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The things you learn...

So earlier today I was reading an article about the development of new iris scanning technology. This new tech is able to scan the human iris within one second and is able to accurately identify any iris stored within a database.  This acts much like fingerprint identification, yet is more accurate and apparently is now becoming easier to do.  There is already a scanner in place that can scan up to 50 people in one minute, and this is all while the people are in motion.  That means you could have multiple lines of individuals lined up and passing this overhead scanner and it would be able to recognize each individual iris.

Ok, creeped out by this yet?  Now it seems the company which has improved this technology is installing it all throughout a city in Mexico (one with a population of one million plus).  Any convicted felon will automatically have their irises scanned and put into the cities database and anyone else may volunteer to join the database as well.  Then, whenever people do such things as use the ATM or go to the bank, get gas, or use any public service they will have their irises scanned and they can be tracked.

Do I hear Orwell having a bit of a laugh somewhere?

I admit this is a bit to much like Big Brother for me at times, but then I have to think about it.  What could the positive repercussions of this be?  People who have a criminal history might be delayed entry into a store until security was warned of a potential threat.  If someone goes missing it would be possible to track their last known location by simply pulling up the data.  Perhaps you run a highly secured company, iris recognition scanners could help protect your company by give access to only those who need to be in the secured facility.  It is not as if you could go out and just whip up a batch of counterfeit eyeballs to get you into the location.  And then what about controlled substances like tobacco or alcohol.  There would be no more issue of carding someone. (Excuse me sir, just look at this scanner and then we can get you your strawberry daiquiri with a splash of coconut rum. Don't worry, we won't mock you until we are around the corner.)

I guess the technology could be used for good or bad (much like superpowers, but without the spandex).  It truly depends on how you view it.  An entire city that is linked and the populace is within the database has the potential to eliminate, reduce, or at least severely limit the number of crimes that could be committed.  If the overseeing database has complete knowledge of your whereabouts I would assume that premeditated crimes would be far more difficult to carry out.  If your entry in the database included medical information about you, then if you were ever injured and went to the hospital there would be no time wasting searching for medical history.  It would all be there displayed for the doctors as soon as you entered the building.  On the flip side, you might get piles and piles of extremely targeted spam and junk mail based solely on your spending habits and the places that you frequent. These too could be recorded by the system

On the whole I don't really have a set opinion yet.  I am fascinated by the tech and its potential uses, but I am not so thrilled about having a computer store in its database that on Sunday at 5:34 pm I was at the corner of Market and 75th and rubbed my nose in such a way that it looked like I was picking it and flicking it at cars of drivers who pissed me off.  For now I'll just wait and see how it goes in Mexico.

Until then I'll just be sitting here pointing at my brain and wondering where the tissue went.

1 comment:

  1. As a parent, I sort of like the idea. To be able to know that if the technology was implimented everywhere and my child went missing, it would be that much easier to locate her and bring her home.

    As someone with multiple drug allergies (I technically should be wearing one of those old school "Medic Alert" bracelets :o ) the idea of ANY hospital being able to see my medical history - including those allergies - is thrilling. No need to worry about whether they'll give me a dose of penicillin while I'm unconscious and unable to tell them that that's a no-no.

    But I'm like you and torn... too much big brother implications in there for my liking :(