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Afghanistan Biometric Data Given To US

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the lets-pull-up-your-information dept.

Privacy 108

wisebabo writes "I just noticed that not only are all Afghans going to have their biometric data (fingerprints and iris scans) recorded but the government plans to share it with the U.S. From the article: 'Gathering the data does not stop at Afghanistan's borders, however, since the military shares all of the biometrics it collects with the United States Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security through interconnected databases.' Talk about 'know thine enemy' (or I guess, for now, friend). Does this foretell the near future when the U.S. govt. (and by extension, Chinese hackers) have the biometrics of almost everyone alive?"

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duh (-1, Offtopic)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38123652)

they can't land the robot helicopter on your truck, unless they know it's you. this is all so obvious.

the important thing is that sooner or later that little group of old, rich guys that run everything, they'll be able to do so at a much more personal level and without having to trust so many other people. that hellfire about to slide up your tailpipe? that wasn't cheap to make and you should be flattered.

Re:duh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38123696)

You forgot to include something about using free, government guarnateed internet access.

Re:duh (-1, Offtopic)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38123726)

I'm a simple guy - it's all I could do to keep the helicopter thread going. And I knew the political commentary would probably be the end of my ride on the Funny train. But I'd believe that my comedic genius will not be silenced by the fascist down mods that are surely on the way. And it's a first post - it shouldn't be that good anyway.

Re:duh (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 2 years ago | (#38123758)

j00 w1n 1 (one) internets!

Surrender your internets at the border control station, please.

Hypocracy (-1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38123690)

Papers comrade is ok as long as it isn't in the USA.

Re:Hypocracy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38123826)

papers comrade is what we do in the USA as well, but we call it "credit cards affiliates" and "facebook".

Wot? They don't already? (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38123722)

There should be an investigation. With the DHS budget they should have this already.

Re:Wot? They don't already? (4, Funny)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38125048)

With the huge shitload of money you guys have buried there, every Afghan should be living in a two-story family house with cable TV, barbecue, walled garden and a Hummer in the driveway.

But hey, you're paying. You tell where it's spent.

Re:Wot? They don't already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38125374)

They'll offset the expenses by selling the data to medical companies & insurers.

A Victory for Freedom Abroad! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38123734)

USA! USA! USA!

A Victory for Freedom Abroad!

Re:A Victory for Freedom Abroad! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38126762)

*Looks for the nearest Al Qaeda recruiting center.*

Missed the juicy part of the article (4, Informative)

upside (574799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38123752)

A reporter from The New York Times, an American of Norwegian rather than Afghan extraction, voluntarily submitted to a test screening with the B.A.T. system. After his fingerprints and iris scans were entered into the B.A.T.’s armored laptop, an unexpected “hit” popped up on the screen, along with the photograph of a heavily bearded Afghan.

The “hit” identified the reporter as “Haji Daro Shar Mohammed,” who is on terrorist Watch List 4, with this note: “Deny Access, Do Not Hire, Subject Poses a Threat.”

Re:Missed the juicy part of the article (3, Interesting)

AlexKilpatrick (2513332) | more than 2 years ago | (#38123990)

Biometric are about probabilities, and a poor fingerprint has a higher chance of a false match. Many Afghans have poor fingerprints because of manual labor (masonry work, etc.). Also, a miss is harder than a match, because you have to search every single record. They may have the thresholds set so low that the "best" match pops up, even if it is not a great match. That would explain this kind of false positive for the reporter. It sounds to me like the system worked - there was a secondary verification of using a photograph, which would have cleared the person who got the false positive.

Re:Missed the juicy part of the article (3, Insightful)

kanto (1851816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38124172)

It sounds to me like the system worked - there was a secondary verification of using a photograph, which would have cleared the person who got the false positive.

The problem is that I don't think this reporter of "American Norwegian" descent looked anything even remotely like the match suggested. The real deal is when using it to pick out natives and then having a system which does low odds "best guesses" sounds retarded; especially if it gives you helpful hints to treat people with extreme prejudice.

Re:Missed the juicy part of the article (1)

AlexKilpatrick (2513332) | more than 2 years ago | (#38124664)

It was a fingerprint match, not a face match, although it is not clear from the article. The face is just there for secondary verification. In a false fingerprint match, you would expect the fingerprints to be similar, but not the faces.

Re:Missed the juicy part of the article (3, Insightful)

chihowa (366380) | more than 2 years ago | (#38125638)

The face is just there for secondary verification. In a false fingerprint match, you would expect the fingerprints to be similar, but not the faces.

His point is that a face match is great for secondary verification if the people are of obviously different races or genders, but if an American soldier is comparing a heavily bearded Afghani man to to the picture of a different heavily bearded Afghani man it may not work so well.

Re:Missed the juicy part of the article (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38135940)

Besides, people have been renditioned and tortured based on a phonetic name match alone.

Hopefully if this system displays a picture it might cut down on misidentification ("Well, this short pudgy guy doesn't look anything like the tall terrorist with chiseled features we're looking for, maybe we have the wrong guy?").

Re:Missed the juicy part of the article (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38124844)

The poor fingerprints are part of the system too.. There's no point building a great heuristic for a shitty database.

Re:Missed the juicy part of the article (1)

AlexKilpatrick (2513332) | more than 2 years ago | (#38125602)

It's a trade-off. Do you reject all poor fingerprints so you can decrease your chance of a false match? If you do that, you are going to reduce the size of the database because a lot of people only have poor fingerprints. Using the face as a backup verification method is actually quite useful. The chance that two people are going to have similar fingerprints AND similar faces is quite low.

Re:Missed the juicy part of the article (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126298)

It's a trade-off. Do you reject all poor fingerprints so you can decrease your chance of a false match? If you do that, you are going to reduce the size of the database because a lot of people only have poor fingerprints.

But then you really need to temper how much you actually use this tool ... saying there's a "30% chance someone is a known terrorist" (for example) means you have to use that as merely a broad level of screening.

You simply can't go around treating this system if it's absolutely reliable if you know damned well you've dialed down the accuracy of it to account for the fact that the finger-print database is largely useless.

Especially when people's lives (and livelihoods) are involved here. But, now the US has a huge, completely unreliable database that some idiot will use as if it's 100% verified information.

Re:Missed the juicy part of the article (1)

AlexKilpatrick (2513332) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126342)

The chance of false match on fingerprints is actually quite small, but we don't know how they are using the tool. In the US, a fingerprint match has to be verified independently by two certified fingerprint examiners before some action is taken. I don't know how they are using it in Afghanistan, but from what I have heard it *is* a screening tool. If they get a match, they just detain the person until they can figure out out what the deal is. I suspect the rate of false positives is not all that high, otherwise the tool would be useless for checkpoints.

Re:Missed the juicy part of the article (3, Interesting)

durrr (1316311) | more than 2 years ago | (#38124078)

Working as inteded.
This way any agent of the US wanting to get rid of someone unwanted will just use his terrorist-check-rights and force you at gunpoint to have your fingers scanned. It then uses an "what's your arab-terrorist-alias generator" and generates a false positive, allowing said officer to shoot you directly as you pose a threat to the Free World(tm), said officer then goes through the standardized "blame a technical glitch" whitewash procedure.

It's a brilliant fascist system. Of course we need to take it a step further and remove the do not fly list and whatever lists that numbers those to look out for, because hey, there's so many terrorists that it's hard to keep track. We should instead create a not-a-terrorist-list for the rich and their friends and implement prison wages for the rest of the population, not that there would be any particularly noticable difference

Re:Missed the juicy part of the article (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38125366)

We should instead create a not-a-terrorist-list for the rich and their friends

Makes sense; computer security is moving from a blacklist model to a whitelist one, so why not real-world security? Create a government certification process for people, much like the Apple review process for the App Store (TM, copyright all rights reserved, patent pending), and problem solved!

Re:Missed the juicy part of the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38129370)

Hasn't this started already in for of a trusted traveler list? Doesn't this list make anyone not on it not trustworthy? What's stopping ill intentioned people from getting on that list?

Re:Missed the juicy part of the article (0)

Sumtingwong (1107983) | more than 2 years ago | (#38132818)

Do you ever leave your hole to get a dose of reality or do you just sit around watching the Bourne series all day?

Re:Missed the juicy part of the article (1)

Matheus (586080) | more than 2 years ago | (#38124532)

FYI: I know that system and it relies on extremely low thresholds because of the fact the Afghan data is so terrible. SO, first of all, I can be 99.9% sure his iris scan had nothing to do with the "hit" (Iris is scary accurate) and also that if you look at the match score for fingerprint it was probably very low. Unlike what they show in the movies/TV biometric "identification" systems rarely return a single "hit"... they return a candidate list with attached scores. It is your responsibility to determine a minimum score that you rely on being a "hit" (based on analysis of the gallery data) and also a grey band where you decide the software is not sure and further investigation is required by a human.

The news rarely reports accurately on biometrics. The summaries on /. are usually terrible when it comes to anything biometric. ...and I always find the commentary here thoroughly entertaining given how much most people don't understand the tech.

Re:Missed the juicy part of the article (1)

Demerara (256642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38124750)

A reporter from The New York Times, an American of Norwegian rather than Afghan extraction, voluntarily submitted to a test screening with the B.A.T. system. After his fingerprints and iris scans were entered into the B.A.T.’s armored laptop, an unexpected “hit” popped up on the screen, along with the photograph of a heavily bearded Afghan.

The “hit” identified the reporter as “Haji Daro Shar Mohammed,” who is on terrorist Watch List 4, with this note: “Deny Access, Do Not Hire, Subject Poses a Threat.”

Hilarious, until this "hit" is used to trigger a missile strike on your house. this example illustrates why outputs of biometric comparisons should be human-adjudicated when anything other than a parking-space is at question.

Re:Missed the juicy part of the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38125104)

So? It'd be attacking Dirk durka Mohammed anyway?

Re:Missed the juicy part of the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38126524)

My father submitted his DNA sample to one of these global heritage services (I believe it was run by IBM, and/or National Geographic). I'm so screwed!

Best friends forever! (3, Funny)

md65536 (670240) | more than 2 years ago | (#38123810)

Friends? Does that mean that the US shares biometric data on all US citizens with Afghanistan? Aw how adorable!

The US doesn't have friends. It has friendos.

Re:Best friends forever! (1)

AlexKilpatrick (2513332) | more than 2 years ago | (#38124064)

Don't forget, the US paid for the system.

Re:Best friends forever! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38124434)

And they can shove it.

Re:Best friends forever! (1)

md65536 (670240) | more than 2 years ago | (#38124722)

It's the gift that keeps giving back.

Re:Wrong Relationship (4, Informative)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 2 years ago | (#38124954)

The US doesn't have "friends", it has "client states" and "potential enemies". When a state switches from one to the other depends on the current economic state in the US. Look at Iraq, at one point Saddam Hussein was a great friend of the US, then he threatened the US oil supply and all that was out the window :P

Re:Wrong Relationship (1)

Sumtingwong (1107983) | more than 2 years ago | (#38132830)

Right, all that oil coming from the Middle East, especially Iraq, is crucial to the US. Perhaps you should check your numbers and your understanding of IR theory before writing--lots of info out there on this. Suggest starting with "neo-con" and "Bush." Education is the key to freedom and will save you from idiot posts.

Re:Best friends forever! (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129878)

Is that like frenemies?

The new US motto (0)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38123814)

" All your base are belong to us " !

Re:The new US motto (3, Funny)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38124004)

" All your basepair are belong to us " !

FTFY

I hope so... (4, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 2 years ago | (#38123852)

Does this foretell the near future when the U.S. govt. (and by extension, Chinese hackers) have the biometrics of almost everyone alive?"

I hope so, this would be doubleplusgood. Otherwise, how else can be catch and punish Goldstein?

1984 in T-minus 3...2....1 (1, Interesting)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38124098)

Ah, yes, the inevitable pile of 1984 analogies that comes up for every single fucking story that relates to privacy or government authority in any way. At least yours is a largely correct interpretation of the book, conveys the impression that you actually read it, and comes in response to a topic where the book has some applicability.

Now we just need some sacharine, hyperbolic "first they came for..." parodies, then a few posters to angrily dismiss any voices of moderation on grounds that the very first overstep of government authority on privacy matters that isn't met with outright caterwauling will lead to a full-fledged totalitarian state (just as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow morning), and we'll have the Slashdot Privacy Discussion Trifecta.

Again, not to pick on you in particular, Pharmboy. Yours isn't far off. It's just that as someone with thorough knowledge of 1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, the Postman, etc. it's so fucking obnoxious and tiring for me to see people misquote, misunderstand, and exaggerate the dystopic classics so dramatically, day in and day out.

Re:1984 in T-minus 3...2....1 (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38124174)

It's pity that ./ rating system doesn't have -1 Boring. You would get one from me immediately.

Re:1984 in T-minus 3...2....1 (1)

md65536 (670240) | more than 2 years ago | (#38124910)

Doubleplusone boring! RobinEggs wants to wait till it's too late, before we do anything about it. Let the government surround you and hold a gun to your head, but they're not doing anything wrong until they pull the trigger!

Re:1984 in T-minus 3...2....1 (1)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126122)

Wow. Way to miss (and then re-prove) my point in the most hilariously over-the-top way possible. I swear, either you're a comic genius or the stupidest person I've ever met.

Re:1984 in T-minus 3...2....1 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38124984)

Hey! You are right! People have complained about totalitarianism and population surveillance before!

Ok guys it's over, let's stop caring for the safeguards of our freedom, it's not IN any more!

Re:1984 in T-minus 3...2....1 (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38125244)

If you actually care, do something constructive like speaking to your representatives. Moaning about it on here does nothing but waste time and energy that could be directed at trying to make a difference.

Re:1984 in T-minus 3...2....1 (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129984)

GP's point is not that complaints about totalitarianism are stupid. It's that 1984 (and other similar works) are often inappropriately brought up in the context, where the actual facts do not bear anything whatsoever in common with 1984.

Basically, it's equivalent to writing "Oh, I know! It's just like Hitler!" in every story about every privacy violation, no matter how small.

Re:1984 in T-minus 3...2....1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38125262)

Whoa! You're cooool!

Re:1984 in T-minus 3...2....1 (1)

sunblazer (854413) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126550)

and what about you?

Re:1984 in T-minus 3...2....1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38130166)

Why have any rational discussion when we can have elitists like you firing destructive rhetoric arguments rather than providing any insight, information or depth whatsoever.

Oh yeah, this is /., home of elitists retards who are afraid to think for themselves and to actually LISTEN to other people. That garbage coming out of your mouth isn't worth anything beyond a good flush down the toilet.

Grown up on 1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheut. And yeah, I know you'll pick on me for misspelling Fahrenheck, and miss the entire point while puking your retarded confused mess on other people.

Books can be read in many ways, not yours, retard. Good luck wanking on the internet and seeking confirmation from the other elitists here.

1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38123884)

then Gattica

Orwell (a socialist) was wrong about who would institute this. Only socialists/communists want to be the government and they want the government to own everyone. On the opposite side libertarians want people to be free, meaning the only owner a person has is that person. The Democrats and the Republicans are both socialists, if you don't believe it, look at their fundamental policies of taking freedoms from the "non" political class and transferring personal ownership from the self to the state.

Re:1984 (0)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38123958)

dont carry over your stupid american political distortions to the political science.

there is no such bullshit exist as you speak of. in socialism, the people own the government, directly. even in the worse implemented attempts like ussr, there were more local and regional assemblies with representatives elected from among those locales than united states had ever had in its history. whatever happened, it happened through people's votes. it was exploitable, and it was exploited, yes.

but at least, people were not OWNED PRIVATELY like in the bullshit you so-called 'libertarians' propose.

Re:1984 (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38124874)

there is no such bullshit exist as you speak of. in socialism

Ummm ... really? Pol Pot? Mao Tse Tung? Vladimir Ilyich Lenin?

Granted, these are communists in some cases ... but there has always been an aspect of the "inspired" leaders imposing this on people "for their own good", and then essentially ram it down their throats (or up another orifice).

the people own the government, directly.

Or, were told that.

there were more local and regional assemblies with representatives elected from among those locales than united states had ever had in its history. whatever happened, it happened through people's votes.

A vote at the point of a gun isn't a vote ... and I don't think Pol Pot or Chairman Mao were doing a whole of of consensus building.

Now, don't get me wrong ... I don't belive that the libertarian free-market-at-all-costs model is working (or can work) ... but it's a little hard to accept the notion that some of the harsher implementations of Communism/Socialism were democratic processes in which people voted for it.

Sure, some people voted to have a revolution ... but then they didn't exactly ask everyone else how they felt about it. But, make no mistake, it was ultimately spread by force.

Re:1984 (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126194)

give me one good reason why i should waste time trying to enlighten someone who had his brain washed by right wing propaganda, and i will spare the effort. im serious.

Re:1984 (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126572)

give me one good reason why i should waste time trying to enlighten someone who had his brain washed by right wing propaganda, and i will spare the effort. im serious.

Because you incorrectly assert that I believe the right wing propaganda, or that I haven't read up on this stuff. I've read both ends of the spectrum, and while I don't hold any degrees on the topic, I consider myself to be somewhat informed. I also don't think either side is universally "right" on all points.

So far you've made a couple of dismissive assertions with nothing to back it up.

Would you like to provide some evidence that Pol Pot took a vote and this is what people decided on? That Lenin didn't conduct purges? That Chairman Mao wasn't a vicious little tyrant? That Shining Path weren't a bunch of violent extremists who decided to force their views on people by force of gun?

I genuinely think the Libertarian/pure Capitalilst model of how to run a government is a crock ... and I genuinely think that those glorious Socialist revolutions you hold up were generally brutal rebellions that lead to a lot of blood-shed in pursuit of an ideology.

You, however, seem to be dismissing anything you consider as coming from the "right", and are merely implying that these shining examples of the "left" are perfect -- fascism and tyranny aren't a left/right issue. The growing American police state is no better than the tyranny of the Soviet Union.

So, yeah, if you would like your position and your assertions to be taken seriously, instead of something off the cuff with nothing to support it ... by all means, 'enlighten' me. So far you've stuck with the philosophical equivalent of "did too" and "neener neener".

You've yet to say anything of substance despite making fairly grand claims and ignoring anything you don't like. I would be interested if you'd actually say anything ... take a risk, get modded down (or up) ... but don't just keep pretending that backing up anything you say is beneath you.

Re:1984 (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128222)

Because you incorrectly assert that I believe the right wing propaganda

no, its because you are parroting right wing propaganda. what you think as 'not right wing' in usa, is right of right everywhere else in the world in regard to political spectrum. so, you have been peddling right wing propaganda you believe to be freedom. not to mention calling yourself libertarian - a politically correct renaming of republican.

you are right wing. tell me why i should spare time in attempting to correct the distortion american political climate caused in regard to right/left balance in your head, toppling you to far right, then believing it to be 'freedom'. as said, im serious. if you can show me a good, compelling reason that would inspire me, i will spend effort. else, ill just pass.

Re:1984 (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128344)

Yawn. So, I'm forced to conclude you're an idiot who feels he has some special knowledge he's not willing to share with the world -- and even then only if you can define the terms of reference.

I don't need to convince you to share this with me ... but I will basically now say that you have provided nothing to support your opinion, that you're mostly full of shit, and that other than some vague and indirect assertions, you have yet to actually say anything of substance.

Have a nice day there skippy.

For the record, I live in a country many consider to be socialist, and I consider myself to lean towards socialism ... but you've not motivated me to care any more about what you say.

Re:1984 (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128912)

Yawn. So, I'm forced to conclude you're an idiot

ok then. youre just another right wing nutjob. just scram.

Re:1984 (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128978)

ok then. youre just another right wing nutjob

The sheer fallacy of that statement boggles the mind.

Have a nice day.

Re:1984 (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126630)

Somebody else not totally ruined might read it.

Re:1984 (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128230)

i know that possibility exists. but, i have spared enough effort up till this point without being asked, and even on slashdot too. but,these days i am refraining from doing it for every random right wing brainwash coming up and telling me far right slant is 'freedom' .

Re:1984 (1)

M. Baranczak (726671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38125240)

USSR? Elected? Please tell me this is a joke.

Re:1984 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38125696)

USSR? Elected? Please tell me this is a joke.

The Constitution of the USSR was one of the most progressive ever, even moreso than the US constitution. Go read it, it will open your eyes. But a consitution is just a piece of paper, so while the ideals were very good, the implementation shall we say sucked hard. In the US the consitution is for all intents and purposes a piece of paper the politicians use to dry their asses with. And you can see the effects of this policy all around you.

Re:1984 (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126660)

Sure they had elections, but they didn't have a multi-party system. But as U.S. politics has demonstrated, having two or more parties tends to cause stupidities where party X sabotages decision A just because they want to be against what party Y is for. With a single party you avoid that. However without opposition the ruling party becomes mired in dogma instead of adapting to change...

Re:1984 (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130026)

Early Soviets (councils) were actually democratically elected, albeit with a system that heavily over-represented cities (where the majority were proletarians) over countryside (where the majority were peasants). The system degenerated over time, and was pretty much completely non-functioning by the time Stalin took over.

Re:1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38126770)

Had to mod you -1 Flamebait because there isn't a -1 Ravingly Ignorant. In 1984 the governing party was "Socialist".

Dont worry. (2)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38123930)

I can bet my sweet ass that chinese and russian hackers will screw this kind of thing so hard that it will be pointless.

Re:Dont worry. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38124286)

The whole "point" is security theater to begin with. That, and politically connected tech firms that get juicy contracts to build such systems with no oversight or accountability.

How do you know your ass tastes sweet? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38125184)

I hope it was indirect contact,
like someone kissed your ass and then you,
and if that were the case then maybe it was the gum?

Both ways? (1)

muttoj (572791) | more than 2 years ago | (#38123942)

I am curious if the USA will share their biometric data if the Afgan government would ask for it.

Re:Both ways? (3, Funny)

AlexKilpatrick (2513332) | more than 2 years ago | (#38124764)

The US will share whatever is negotiated with the Afghans. Countries share varying amounts of data all the time, depending upon what they negotiate. The Afghans are not sharing *all* of the data they have, and the system is in place because the Afghans want it. If they didn't want it, they could force the US to remove it.

Re:Both ways? (3, Funny)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38124880)

The Afghans are not sharing *all* of the data they have, and the system is in place because the Afghans want it. If they didn't want it, they could force the US to remove it.

That's the funniest thing I've read on Slashdot this month.

Re:Both ways? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38127068)

Somebody should tell him that Santa Clause is not real...

TSA's PLDB (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38123974)

>> (and by extension, Chinese hackers)

Once the Chinese get a hold of the TSA's PLDB information (Penis Length Data Base) on every American male, they'll just give up the New Cold War out of pure embarrassment.

Re:TSA's PLDB (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38124114)

...or sympathy

Use of biometrics (2)

AlexKilpatrick (2513332) | more than 2 years ago | (#38124036)

I'm curious - people are worried about the government having their biometrics. What specifically are you concerned about? What is the nightmare scenario that bothers you if the USG has your fingerprints? In case you haven't noticed, you leave your fingerprints everywhere; if someone wanted your fingerprints, it would be pretty easy to obtain them without your consent. Similarly, someone can collect your face biometric by taking a picture of you at the mall, or from your driver's license. I don't think there is any way to stop the spread of biometric databases, the same way it is impossible to stop the spread of stolen credit card numbers. We have to look at legislation centered around what people are doing with that information.

Re:Use of biometrics (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | more than 2 years ago | (#38124884)

I don't have a particular scenario in mind. But I am concerned that this type on information could be used to track or identify me if I were to ever find myself in the position of resisting the government. Law enforcement of various flavors have a history of spying on and disrupting legitimate political protest. Political, environmental, and civil rights activists have been spied on, harassed and even killed by law enforcement trying to preserve the status quo. And now that being labeled a Terrorist gets you blown up by flying killer robots or kidnapped off the street (no evidence, no trial, just BOOM), the stakes are even higher.

Basically, I don't trust the government or law enforcement to work in my true best interest. I expect them to work in their own best interest, quite narrowly defined. Therefore, I don't trust them with information about me so I try to limit it. Am I paranoid? You bet I am. 10 years ago, I wasn't. But the world has changed around me in some disturbing ways, and few people around me seem to understand what's happening.

Re:Use of biometrics (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 2 years ago | (#38133272)

Well, biometric identification is probabilistic and every system has false positives, especially when applied to a large population. If you're in the database then you may well be one of the false positives. Heck, even a true positive could be inaccurate, since you leave fingerprints and such everywhere... including future crime scenes. Plus, given how things seem to go, this system, if implemented, would supplant traditional methods and lead to: "Well, the computer says you did it, so that's good enough for me.".

Re:Use of biometrics (1)

nickmalthus (972450) | more than 2 years ago | (#38133846)

My concern is that this type of technology could be used as tool of oppression by authoritarian governments who would use it to stratify a population into those friendly to the regime and those who are declared hostile. This type of technology and the resulting power it would yeild could be abused and it should be the electorate that sets the policy around its use. In this case the sharing of sensitive citizen data with a foreign country reflects poorly on the sovereignty of Afganistan.

Thanks editors! (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38124048)

For posting this story, I thought it got lost in the shuffle (I don't understand the "recent" ratings system at all).

I just wanted to mention, India is also in the process of obtaining biometric data for all of its 1.2 Billion(!) citizens.

Will the U.S. get access to that? With or without the Indian govt.'s permission? (and how long until hackers get ALL of the data?)

Re:Thanks editors! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38124734)

With permission, sorry; India isn't Afghanistan. Without, perhaps. I wouldn't put it past US' scruples, or lack of it.

Re:Thanks editors! (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126576)

In India everyone has your data.

What about SWIFT?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38124070)

The EU hands over all our private bank transactions to the US, apparently we didn't have the technology to analyze these ourselves with our ZX81s. But it's OK, the USA promises not to misused the data, and a bloke is there to what them put the flash key into the computer so it's all perfectly OK.

Oh, and of course USA bank transactions won't be sent to EU, because, well, just because.

Re:What about SWIFT?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38124582)

The EU hands over all our private bank transactions to the US, apparently we didn't have the technology to analyze these ourselves with our ZX81s. But it's OK, the USA promises not to misused the data, and a bloke is there to what them put the flash key into the computer so it's all perfectly OK.

Oh, and of course USA bank transactions won't be sent to EU, because, well, just because.

Yeah, this is one of the things that makes me most furious about the EU.
The incapability of giving the finger to the US when its warranted (swift, unconditional extradition of UK citizens to the US, reciprocity deals that only go one way etc...)
Its a one way relationship where the abused wife is the EU, and the hits just keep on coming.

Re:What about SWIFT?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38124808)

Yes but even the most abusive husband ostensibly 'protects' you (wife) from getting screwed over by the rest of the barbarians clamoring at your borders right. Just wait till the moats are breached, you're gonna have to run behind your husband's tunic... :-)

This isn't *obviously* bad. (1)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#38124126)

As all the cop shows prove, biometrics can just as easily rule you out as rule you in. An iris scan in an airport sounds a lot better to me than the crap the TSA uses these days, or a couple of years in Gitmo while they try to sort out their !@#$.

The tech's innocent and benign. We ought to be watching what's being done with it.

Intelligence just can't win (4, Interesting)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38124650)

I really pity the American intelligence community. They're expected to catch every single credible threat, not just to America but to any nation or political figure on the planet, without going so much as a micron past the ever-shifting 'too far' and 'possibly not far enough' marks at risk of being flat-out pilloried in venues far more hysterical and influential than this.

Between the conservatives who claim we've still not gone far enough in fighting terror and the liberals who scream at any infinitesimal possibility of privacy violations but still want a potent intelligence apparatus - and the general public's simultaneous sympathy for both sides - it's impossible to win. The safe operating widths of the intelligence community (on some hypothetical number line ranging from "knows everything about everybody in real time" to "won't so much as question a guy carrying dynamite up the Capitol steps without first consulting the Human Rights Commission and the ACLU") are almost always measured in negative numbers, and large ones at that.

I mean seriously. Many liberals and libertarians are demanding surveillance policies so dense and cautious that no intelligence organization could reasonably decide on manpower and human judgment alone whether to stop a possibly dangerous person from entering the country until well after he's either blown up a building or completed his perfectly innocuous two-week business trip, whichever comes later. And, as in the reaction to this story, God help them if they use computers, networking, and/or any persistent databases to speed up that decision!

And if it's not the liberals and libertarians bitching about even the slightest possibility of privacy violations, it's the conservatives who say we might as well erect a thirty foot electrified fence around the entire nation and fire mortars at everyone who approaches wearing more than a see-through jockstrap and an implanted, US-made chip containing their passport, complete encrypted biometric profile, and HD-video of their entire life up to the moment they walked into view of the mortar teams.

Re:Intelligence just can't win (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38127164)

Between the conservatives who claim we've still not gone far enough in fighting terror and the liberals who scream at any infinitesimal possibility of privacy violations but still want a potent intelligence apparatus - and the general public's simultaneous sympathy for both sides - it's impossible to win. The safe operating widths of the intelligence community (on some hypothetical number line ranging from "knows everything about everybody in real time" to "won't so much as question a guy carrying dynamite up the Capitol steps without first consulting the Human Rights Commission and the ACLU") are almost always measured in negative numbers, and large ones at that.

We could just go back to the way it was, with the awareness that greater cooperation is required. Seriously. The standards that were in place prior to 9/11 were sufficient to get the job done without turning the US into a dictator's playground. They already had a "covert" arm of the US judicial branch that made decisions for wiretap warrants and the like...It wasn't until after 9/11 that the administration decided to ignore that facility and act on its own (the illegal wiretapping scandals).

The domestic political struggles will continue. On the other hand, at least some of the people making those charges really do care about what they are saying and do believe they are acting in the county's best interests. Their mistake is in assuming that everyone in the intelligence community is a "normal" person who would need the sort of invasive, technology assist anal probes they envision to actually get the job done. There are times when I hear about much of the monitoring that goes on and I think, "Surely our analysts are so stupid as to require all of that to get the job done."

Members of the intelligence community could also take action to prevent their work from being used for domestic political purposes. I do still have trust in the individuals who make up the CIA and NSA, at least. I don't believe that institutionally, at least, they are really all that happy to be doing what they, for years, concluded would be in violation of the fourth amendment. They, I would imagine, given all the sacrifices they have made in the job and knowing how bad it could be, are probably more sensitive to that than most of the ACLU minority...And also realize just how futile what the far right totalitarian minority's "solutions" would be.

Re:Intelligence just can't win (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127486)

I really pity the American intelligence community. They're expected to catch every single credible threat, not just to America but to any nation or political figure on the planet,

Yes ... that's why there was such an outcry that the CIA, NSA, FBI and DHS didn't warn Norway about Anders Breivik and his doings.

Same with the car bomb in Stockholm in late 2010.

And don't get me started on how Spain crucified every single American ever so slightly connected with the CIA, NSA, FBI and DHS over their failure to stop the Madrid train bombings in 2004.

And the UK?!? They declared war on the US over the 2005 London bombings! Seriously - they had a Trident submarine launch nuclear warheads to level New York City.

Wait ... none of that actually happened. No one blamed the US intelligence community for failing to prevent or even warn about these attacks.

Re:Intelligence just can't win (1)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127660)

Nice hyperbole, but I didn't say that people from other countries expect the US intelligence community to save their asses, or even that Americans give a fuck about other countries (too many of them don't). I didn't specify at all who expected them to catch every threat, so your entire post is a self-indulgent rant.

Since you asked (well, didn't ask really, but wasted six lines ranting about your pure conjecture on a tangential topic), I only meant that Americans expect US intelligence to catch credible threats. When bombs go off or some revolution heats up that the CIA had no idea about people some people get testy, including some people in the congress, if only because they wish they had more time to plan their own reaction and hold intelligence responsible for not giving it to them.

Re:Intelligence just can't win (1)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131246)

If no one voiced concerns over privacy issues, complained about security forces overstepping the bounds that have been set in law etc, then we would have no privacy whatsoever. As it is the War on Privacy is going fairly well for most intelligence agencies I think. Sure, they occasionally get brought up short over an issue here or there, but there's lots of evidence to indicate that whenever possible law enforcement agencies, government agencies and of course corporations (who have in some cases made destroying your privacy into an industry) will overstep any bounds, and gather information in direct violation of the spirit of privacy legislation if not the actual letter of the law. We effectively have no privacy these days, and thousands are working actively with all the technical tools possible to ensure they erode what is left as soon as possible.
Now I am not saying its all malicious - most companies just want to identify any slight detail that might enable them to sell you more shit you don't need because business is cutthroat, a lot of data is retained just because people don't want to delete something that might be useful down the road - but probably the greatest fact that preserves what privacy we have remaining at the moment is the sheer inefficiency of most government or law enforcement agencies. The data is probably there but establishing relationships between the facts is difficult. That will change as tech improves of course.
Its important people complain about abuses of personal privacy. It at least reminds the majority of the sheep that there is something they should eventually think about, but for the most part I don't see many checks on the abuses of the system.
Now is it important for intelligence agencies to gather data to prevent or at least identify threats? Of course it is, do we the people have any real way to determine when laws are being violated? Not that I know of. It used to be that the CIA was not permitted to monitor US Citizens inside of the US borders to the best of my recollection. The FBI handled surveillance inside of the US (and Central/South America for some odd reason). Now you have the Department of Homeland Security and they can monitor anyone they want. If there isn't a watchdog curtailing their ability to break the laws, if there isn't people complaining about abuses then there is nothing but the goodwill of the government to prevent the establishment of a police state down the road. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
At the moment, no one is really.

Re:Intelligence just can't win (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131920)

Actually, things were just fine before 9/11. The problem wasn't that the intelligence agencies weren't able to collect the right or enough information. The problem was that they ignored it. How much more direct does "Bin Laden Determined To Fly Planes Into The World Trade Centers" have to be?

Re:Intelligence just can't win (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38132888)

Wow...I think you have actually written one of the most thoughtful posts I have read on /. in a loooong time. Cheers to you.

Going "...far enough..." or any privacy issues, however, are not partisan.

In the end, it comes down to what we really want to be: a democracy with a strong rule of law where we catch the bad guy after the act/crime is committed, or a paranoid society where we suffer with our privacy to protect possible lives. Playing the middle ground is difficult, at best, and the public has a very short memory.

Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38124692)

I'm just glad they gave it to US and not THEM.

If only we could eliminate american stupidity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38124756)

Why can't we ditch the US inside a black hole ?
That would solve 90% of the world's problems.

wearing out our welcome (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38124796)

This reminds me that we may be soon as welcome as the Soviets after WWII. Your papers, please.

Re:wearing out our welcome (1)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127446)

You know, the Soviets were perfectly welcome in a lot of places on continents that weren't western Europe and in countries that didn't rhyme with Hysterica.

I don't know enough history to even hazard a guess at whether Westerners or Soviets were more welcome, in general, worldwide. But you could take off the Westerners rose-colored glasses for a minute and realize that the Soviets weren't necessarily the crazed, universally despised whackjobs you see in Bond movies. Stalin, yes. The entire Soviet Union, probably not.

Ignorance (3, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#38125594)

"...Does this foretell the near future when the U.S. govt. (and by extension, Chinese hackers) have the biometrics of almost everyone alive?"

Well, for starters, I find it hilarious that you think this doesn't go on already, sanctioned or not.

And the "by extension" comment regarding hackers? C'mon now, you're talking to Slashdot, not CNN here. Hacking (or cracking) has been and always will be the fallacy of ANY online or offline electronic resource, no matter who owns it or what it contains. That's not exactly "by extension" but more like by inherent design, and it's certainly not limited to "Chinese hackers".

Reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38127274)

The US started doing this ages ago with US equipment for inclusion in US databases. What's an Afghan gonna do when a goon armed with a biometric scanner and an M16 (or whatever) takes his biometrics - ask whether the data will be handled with appropriate sensitivity and concerns for privacy? Yeah, right.

The Afghan government(aka Karzai, the mayor of Kabul) will do whatever the US government pays him to do.

Re:Reality (1)

sunblazer (854413) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128268)

I am against this comment about Karzai. He is a legitimate president elect of a democratic and modern country. You also may not accuse the USA of bribery. You seem to know not clearly of what you write about. Study your history.

watch free movies online (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38128360)

www.ipeepo,com

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