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Biometrics at the Statue of Liberty

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the oh-the-irony dept.

Privacy 452

gurps_npc writes "There is an interesting CNN article about the Statue of Liberty finally opening again (it was closed since 9/11 for security reasons). They have increased security to 'airport levels', and offer lockers for people to rent, partly to keep those incredibly dangerous objects like swiss army knives away from the fragile Statue of Liberty. But instead of keys, the lockers use fingerprint readers to open and close (approximately one reader for every 50 lockers)." The article notes that the design was dictated by the Transportation Security Administration.

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452 comments

do you have to use a finger? (4, Interesting)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 9 years ago | (#9948980)

would any sufficiently swirly object work?
a knuckle for example?

Re:do you have to use a finger? (3, Funny)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949029)

Do you carry a bag of extra knuckles around?

Just curious...

Nothing to see here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9948981)

Move along.

what a shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9949255)

I've never been in the statue of liberty before all of these changes, and I doubt I will ever want to now.

Freedom? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9948988)

"What no one seemed to notice was the ever widening gap between the government and the people...And it became always wider...

"The whole process of this disconnect coming into being was built around diversion...

"Nazism gave us some other dreadful, fundamental things to think about ...or, rather, provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway...

"Nazism kept us so busy with continuous changes, accusations and 'crises' and so fascinated ... by the machinations of the 'national enemies' without and within) and the government's 'responses' to them, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us...

"Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, 'regretted', that unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these 'little measures' must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing...

"Each act curtailing freedom... is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow...

"You don't want to act, or even talk, alone... you don't want to 'go out of your way to make trouble' or be 'unpatriotic'...But the one great shocking
occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes...

"That's the difficulty. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring: the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit (which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms) is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. ...

"You have accepted things you would not have accepted five years ago, a year ago, things your father... could never have imagined."

Source: They Thought They Were Free, The Germans, 1938-45 (Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 1955)
__________________________________

"We will not wait as our enemies gather strength against us. In the world we have entered, the only path to safety is the path of action, and this nation will act." G.W.Bush, West Point, June 2002

"In this new world, declarations of war serve no purpose. Our enemies must be defeated before they can harm us. I will never declare war, but will take action!" Adolph Hitler, June 1940

"Not too many people will be crying in their beer if there are more detentions, more stops and more profiling. There will be a groundswell of public opinion to banish civil rights," Peter Kirsanow, Bush's controversial appointee the U.S.
Commission on Civil Rights

"I tell you, freedom and human rights in America are doomed. The U.S. government will lead the American people, and the West in general, into an unbearable hell and a choking life."
Osama bin Laden, October, 2001

Re:Freedom? (1)

Maestro4k (707634) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949207)

Very well put, the quotes put it in perspective wonderfully. I wish I had mod points to mod you up!

Re:Freedom? (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949233)

"there ought to be limits to freedom" -- George W. Bush

Guess he's showing us, huh?

CHANEY! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9948989)

CHANEY!

me (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9948995)

yes yes

First (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9948998)

Postage paid.

re: funk (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9949000)

hahaha first post

free as a bird (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9949003)


in a cage

You're so deep, dude. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9949283)

Have you ever thought that, like, we're just characters in a dream?

Which locker did I use? (4, Interesting)

ack154 (591432) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949006)

Others forgot their locker number upon their return, or didn't remember which finger they had used to check it out.
That would be my worry. At least with oldschool lockers, you would get a big fat key with a number on it, so you knew what was yours. Unfortunately, there's no mention if there's a receipt printed out or anything with a locker number and/or time on it or something.

Re:Which locker did I use? (5, Funny)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949061)

I wouldn't have any trouble remembering which finger I used . . .

-Peter

Re:Which locker did I use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9949218)

I would use my butt.

Re:Which locker did I use? (1)

ack154 (591432) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949248)

There's only one obvious choice, right? Though, you may have to remember which hand you used.

Re:Which locker did I use? (3, Interesting)

BagOBones (574735) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949237)

Once you come back and scan, your locker will unlock.. Shouldn't be hard to tell yours from all the other locked ones.

They have passcode style ones at the mall here, but it isn't hard to tell which locker is yours.. As soon as you enter your code you can here the door unlock.

Re:Which locker did I use? (1)

slutsker (804955) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949274)

Why doesn't the person just write down the locker number they put their things in? It seems logical.

I don't have a problem with this (3, Interesting)

Elecore (784561) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949007)

As long as they don't connect your fingerprint to your name on site, then I don't mind being checked against a terrorist database. I'm not a terrorist. If they stored my fingerprint afterwards and kept it connected to my name, then yes, of course I'd be against it, but I HIGHLY doubt this happens.

Re:I don't have a problem with this (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9949087)

What makes you so sure they won't be keeping track of your prints? Even if there isn't a name associated with the print right away, the data can still be stored. Perhaps at another point, like when you stay at a hotel your name will be associated with the print. It just seems like yet another way for the government to harvest finger-prints -- kind of like when they print 3rd grade kids.

Re:I don't have a problem with this (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949153)

I bet you money they have that checking against a database of fingerprints of wanted or suspect criminals of the state.

what an elegant way of secretly checking fingerprints!

If it's not that way right now, it will be shortly.. it took me 30 seconds to think this up, I'm sure there is a NSA guy drooling over the idea already.

Re:I don't have a problem with this (4, Informative)

EvanED (569694) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949244)

AFAIK, it still takes a bit of specialized skill and a few minutes at least to enter fingerprints into AFIS. The operator has to go through and mark splits and ends in the ridges, centers of swirls, etc. That much isn't automated. While/if this is true, they won't really be able to check every print.

You might want to have a problem with this.... (3, Insightful)

seestuffgo (736308) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949213)

However, prints are being run through terrorist watch lists in the biggest deployment of biometrics yet -- the federal government's new system for tracking foreign travelers.

Now in its early stages, the program, known as US-VISIT, calls for visitors to go through biometric scans to ensure that they are who their visa or passport says they are. Passports issued by the United States and other countries are getting new chips that will have facial-recognition data, and other biometrics might be added.

Read the article: if visitors to the US are being connected to their names in this way, how long do you think it will be before visitors to the statue of liberty are connected to their names? We're dealing with a slippery slope here. There're no security measures to prevent this data from being stored or used in inappropriate ways.

What would I like? A guarentee that these prints are deleted at the end of the day, or after check out, or something like that. I doubt anybody wants or could see a reason for permanent records of this sort. (Unless of course you're 'president' dubya, in which case 1984 is looking like paradise)

and this is an entirely off topic discussion to have, but you said "I'm not a terrorist": what the heck is a terrorist, then? What does the database really have in it? Are these people that have been legally convicted of a terrorist crime (okay), or are these 'suspects'? The US definition of 'suspect' is, err, a little suspect these days

okay, /pun

WHAT A DISASTER (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9949010)

I can't believe they're actually taking steps to eliminate possible threats. This is an outrage and I object as a freedom loving citizen.

WTF? (1)

susehat (558997) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949011)

That's odd, this article just did an appear/disappear/reappear trick. that out of the way, Bleh. Good thing I got my visits in long before this bullshit. What happens when the network goes down? "Sorry, but we can't see if you are a terrorist or not. no, you can't get your stuff from the locker. move along, yes, into that nice, room with the friendly gentlemen. NEXT!"

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9949158)

That's odd, this article just did an appear/disappear/reappear trick.

You mean, like this trick [totse.com] ?

Re:WTF? (1)

kahei (466208) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949165)


Ahhh... then you didn't notice the subtle but important difference between the original version and the version on /. now?

I'm glad its reopened. (5, Funny)

gowen (141411) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949015)

I'm glad they've finally reopened the monument. I've good memories of it. In fact, the last time I was inside a woman, I was visiting the Statue of Liberty.

-- ...stolen from Woody Allen...

Newsflash: Hijacking the Statue. (4, Funny)

Amberlock (27439) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949016)

Are they afraid that someone is going to hijack the statue and fly it into a building?

Re:Newsflash: Hijacking the Statue. (1)

Ralig (666219) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949084)

No, No, they are going to spray slime on the inside of it, and have it WALK into buildings. (from the HORRIBLE Ghostbusters 2)

Re:Newsflash: Hijacking the Statue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9949113)

Are they afraid that someone is going to hijack the statue and fly it into a building?

No, they're afraid that somebody hijacks it, and walks it through downtown New York [imdb.com]

Re:Newsflash: Hijacking the Statue. (1)

kenada (86285) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949118)

Perhaps instead they are worried that someone might have it go on a rampage, smashing up all the museums.

Re:Newsflash: Hijacking the Statue. (2, Funny)

Celt (125318) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949127)

well it does have rocket boosters underneath it so could happen :P

In other news the golden gate bridge has just walked to Japan..

Re:Newsflash: Hijacking the Statue. (2, Funny)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949151)

Well since access to the crown is no longer permitted using a large NES controller to walk the Statue over to the city is probably not going to happen.

If they do happen to do it they might want to pad her feet. A lot of advancements have occured in the size of sneakers since Spangler and Ray decided to use this method back in the 1990s.

Re:Newsflash: Hijacking the Statue. (1)

dykofone (787059) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949155)

Are they afraid that someone is going to hijack the statue and fly it into a building?

Of course not, they're afraid that a group of misfits will spray the inside with evil pink ooze, play late 80's pop music and take it for a spin by controlling it with an old Nintendo joypad.

I for one feel their fears are completely justified.

Re:Newsflash: Hijacking the Statue. (1)

hey (83763) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949226)

Yeah, airport security makes sense at airports not statues. Talk about not thinking out of the box.

Statue eh? (4, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949021)

Well let me be the first to say

Yout maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you! God damn you all to Hell!

Re:Statue eh? (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949178)


This little monkey could be the fuckin' damn dirty ape responsible for the fall of the human race. In this world gone mad, we won't spank the monkey- the monkey will spank us. And after the fall of man, these monkey fucks'll start wearing our clothes and rebuilding the world in their image. OH and only those as super smart as me will be left alive to bitterly cry - DAMN YOUS. Goddamn yous all to hell.


Kevin Smith is a genius.

-Peter

T Rex (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9949023)

I had a glimpse into the mysterious future, and saw an article about T Rex living fast and dying young. What gives? Oh and I didnt know the statue of liberty had fingerprints. Learn something every day, huh?

honest question (2, Interesting)

Spytap (143526) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949024)

What if you just push your knuckel against the reader, does it just read the patterns on whatever is placed against it or does it know whether the opbject on top of it is a fingerprint or not?

Re:honest question (1)

Elecore (784561) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949049)

There is probably a person supervising when you do it to make sure you use your finger.

Check the Department above... (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949025)

It's a sad day indeed when these measures are being taken at the Statue of Liberty. Unfortunately, I think we've crossed the line into a new age of insecurity within the US. It's something many other parts of the world have lived with for quite a while, but it's now a difficult reality here.

What a waste of money (1)

arothstein (233805) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949034)

like a fucking terrorist is going to be so stupid as to use this. The assclown who came up with this idea should be fired.

This is neither "rights" nor "online". (2, Insightful)

djh101010 (656795) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949035)

I don't get it. Just like many other places, a reasonable, non-intrusive technology is being used to compare visitors to a list of known problem people. It's an attractive target, and would mean a lot to the terrorists to blow up. I don't see a problem with using this as a way to deter that.

Additionally, this is a pretty nifty use of biometric technology, to key the person's fingerprint to locking & opening a locker. I'd think the implementation of such a system would be more on-topic for Slashdot than trying to turn this into some sorts of online rights issue.

Re:This is neither "rights" nor "online". (2, Interesting)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949121)

You expect a story in YRO to be about your rights online? In my judgement two of the past 10 YRO stories fit the bill. ("Forgent Squeezing Money Out Of JPEG, Other Patents" and "Net Phone Customers Brace For 'VoIP Spam'". An argument could be made for "Jerry Falwell Wins Dispute Over Fallwell.com" as a third).

Re:This is neither "rights" nor "online". (1)

Mateito (746185) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949205)

Ok, just for you... [slashdot.org]

It is a violation of "rights" by "online" means (1)

PMuse (320639) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949224)

this is a pretty nifty use of biometric technology, to key the person's fingerprint to locking & opening a locker.

Up to that point, it is nifty and it's not a rights problem.

...Slashdot ... trying to turn this into some sorts of online rights issue.

It turns into a rights problem when visitors who thought they were getting a locker in fact get a database check. Even if such a check were "reasonable and necessary", it would still qualify as "awful and tragic". And, how can anyone trust that this data will ever go away?

Re:This is neither "rights" nor "online". (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949254)

I don't see a problem with using this as a way to deter that.

And this is exactly what the *good* "citizens" of our fine country are supposed to say. "I have nothing to hide please take my finger prints."

I say the hell with that. Just because we have nothing to hide does not mean that we should happily fork over our identities.

As far as it being a useful technology. Yes, it's a fantastic overuse of a technology. I always felt that a key or a temporary code worked better. Perhaps I am just old-fashioned that way probably just paranoid.

The government wants us to be paranoid over terrorists to detract from being paranoid about them. I'm not fooled.

Not difficult to predict what will happen (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9949039)

"They have increased security to 'airport levels'"

In other words, average Americans will be taken aside and searched from top to bottom while Israeli spies slip in through the backdoor because of ties on the inside.

Welcome to Slashdot, Mr. Arafat! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9949246)

Don't post AC, dude. I want to hear what you have to say.

The prints are NOT run against the FBI database (3, Informative)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949040)

Read the damn article before posting it.

The article discusses other end-user fingerprinting applications, and mentions the US-VISIT program where every terrorist, uh, foreigner entering the United States will get fingerprinted and the fingerprints of THAT scan will be run against the FBI database.

The fingerprints taken to access lockers at the Statue of Liberty are NOT run against the FBI database.

Re:The prints are NOT run against the FBI database (1)

Trigun (685027) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949096)

That's what you think!

Re:The prints are NOT run against the FBI database (4, Insightful)

Not_Wiggins (686627) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949147)

Perhaps the FBI is hoping that WHEN someone places a bomb in a locker, they'll be more easily able to identify the perp because their finger print will still be stored in the system...?

If that's the case, then it is no better than in the movie "Demolition Man" where the head cop figures they'll catch Wesley Snipes by waiting for him to kill someone so they'll know "where he is."

Re:The prints are NOT run against the FBI database (0, Flamebait)

Wingchild (212447) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949152)

To be fair, the article also doesn't say the prints are NOT being run through the FBI database. It's taken as read that this isn't occuring because there is no overt, explicit mention that it's happening.

Which is curious, as the same article details that these lockers are also in use at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport and at Chicago's Union Station. If there were a publicly usable system that I would tie into the NCIC, this would be it - lockers can be used to store explosive devices, after all.

Re:The prints are NOT run against the FBI database (1)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949198)

The moderator changed the summary after posting it...

Re:The prints are NOT run against the FBI database (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9949161)

But that facts gets in the way of all the reactionary little /. dweebs who want to take any opportunity to Blame America.

So shhhhhh!

Why would they keep the prints (1)

Launch (66938) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949042)

If they didn't have any other identifying information on you (i.e. your name) then keeping a record of the prints would be pretty worthless, unless they would then compare those prints to other databases (i.e. criminal, etc)... but I agree, a clear violation of your right to privacy.

The real story here (1)

icekillis (777986) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949044)

The real story here is that keys were replaced by Fingerprint scanners. Just remember to use the middle finger, get's the best quality.

Re:The real story here (1)

nanter (613346) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949157)

I work for a government contractor working for one of the IT govt. organizations. They've switched over to using biometric scanners for access into their buildings.

When I entered the garage, parked my car, and got on line for the fingerprint scanner, I noticed that most people were using their middle fingers! Then I heard someone mutter to their friend, "Giving [agency] the finger to start the day."

Gotta love it.

More inconvenience. (1)

DeVilla (4563) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949046)

Now we are going to have to put up with military and/or FBI swarming the place if a known terrorist decides to drop off a bomb in one of the lockers near Lady Liberty. Not that she'd be a target or something.

Last time I used one... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9949066)

I used one of these things at Universal Studios a few months back, and it wasn't a pleasant experience. When we came back to get stuff out of it, it wasn't reading the finger properly. We had to spend 30 minutes trying to find someone that had authority over the lockers. He had to clean off the reader because he said that over time they accumulate the oil of all the people that use them, and it hinders the scanning process.

Liberty?! (0, Troll)

thedogcow (694111) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949067)

Okay, so one enters the Statue of "Liberty" only to have all liberties removed apon entering said establishment?! Hmmm.

No problem. (2, Funny)

strike2867 (658030) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949072)

I got a great finger for them.

Plastics... (2, Interesting)

eXtro (258933) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949073)

Silly Putty can fool some consumer fingerpring scanners. I'd think that this would be immune to something that low-tech but if you could find a plastic with the right characteristics you should be able to make a fake finger.

What's next??? (2, Insightful)

ranolen (581431) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949074)

With the american gov't going the way they are, you are going to have to give your fingerprints and a criminal record check just to leave your own house pretty soon. When are you going to realise that they are the ones who are "terrorizing" you into giving up all your information and freedoms so they can do what they want.

Curious about the technology architecture (2, Interesting)

Wingchild (212447) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949075)

Boy howdy, I'm wondering how this product was designed. While using a fingerprint-based system is entirely convenient and obviates the need for keys and coinage exchange units (and hey, it's tricky to lose a finger!), I start to wonder if there's anything else the equipment is conveniently tied into on the back-end.

One really nice use would be to have chemical detectors and similar rigged up with the lockers to prevent someone from storing a bomb inside them -- and hey, if you find a prohibited item that needs to be turned over to law enforcement, you already have a fingerprint to run against the National Crime Information Computer (NCIC, the same one used for background checks for security clearances and the like).

Seeing as how similar biometric systems are already in place for people with visas entering the country, why not tie it all together into a system that Homeland Defense can monitor? Ooh, I get all tingly thinking about the implications here.

So... anyone have any additional information on the company that did the manufacturing for this system, or any ideas on what the internal architecture is like? Inquiring privacy-minded people want to know. ^^

Just an FYI... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9949128)

Starting a sentence with the phrase "Seeing as how" makes you look like a complete freakin' yokel.

Today's Rumor (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949079)

I heard the statue of Liberty would be replaced by Dick Cheney with a barrel of oil under one arm and a sack of cash raised above his head with the other.

Re:Today's Rumor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9949229)

You forgot that he will be standing on the backs of the American public, and it will be made from solid Gold, encrusted with South African Diamonds!

What's the use of this stuff ? (0, Flamebait)

vi (editor) (791442) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949088)

  1. It's a French and not an American symbol.
  2. Bombing it will not cause as much media interest as other terrorist acts e.g. beheadings.
  3. As a full metal construction and 18th century quality work it's hard to blow up with convention explosives. A mini H-bomb might do the trick however.
  4. And instead of bombs they could use the rust inducing propeties of nail polish. This stuff would react with the copper coating incuding a pretty nasty acid which eats metal away in no time. On the other hand, buckets of nail polish will raise some questions...
  5. Terrorists are very unlikely to do sightseeing tours in New York.
  6. Terrorist don't place bombs in lockers as they want to blow up people and not lockers.
  7. The metal construction of the statue of liberty renders radio, GPS and timer controlled bombs useless.

Have you been awake for the last three years? (1, Insightful)

switcha (551514) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949089)

partly to keep those incredibly dangerous objects like swiss army knives away from the fragile Statue of Liberty.

Wow. Sarcasm is such a clever device for shoehorning an opinion into an otherwise normal statement. Let me try:
"Yeah, I really bet that someone could fly a couple of planes into some buildings using box cutters as weapons to*" ... oh wait.

Re:Have you been awake for the last three years? (2, Insightful)

LaCosaNostradamus (630659) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949262)

Realistically, obtaining control of an airliner with a set of box cutters should have been difficult to impossible. Unfortunately, with the mass of out-of-shape sheep who pass for the average American population, it proved possible to likely.

My reaction to all of this is to condemn the bad health and placating attitude of threatened Americans, not to go after their pocket knives, letter openers, and nail clippers.

Bring me... (1)

Ephboy (761440) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949092)

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. But before you bring them to me, Run their prints through the device on the door.

Differing Slashdot summaries (5, Informative)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949108)

Somewhat off-topic, but at the moment, the Slashdot front page offers a slightly different version of this story summary (even after hitting Refresh). In fact, the story even disappeared from the front page for a moment, and I thought it was destined to be a ghost article [slashdot.org] .

Here's the info, for posterity, with differences in bold.

Your Rights Online: Statue of Liberty Checks Fingerprints Against FBI Watchlist

Posted by michael on Thu Aug 12, '04 11:13 AM
from the oh-the-irony dept.
gurps_npc writes "There is an interesting CNN article about the Statue of Liberty finally opening again (it was closed since 9/11 for security reasons). They have increased security to 'airport levels', and offer lockers for people to rent, partly to keep those incredibly dangerous objects like swiss army knives away from the fragile Statue of Liberty. But instead of keys, the lockers use fingerprint readers to open and close (approximately one reader for every 50 lockers). The privacy violation is of course that the lockers ALSO check your fingerprints against the FBI Terrorist Watch List. The article does not mention if any record of the finger print is kept by the FBI if it does not match. It also does not mention if the machine themselves keep a record of your fingerprint after you recover your stuff."

Note that the editorial comment about the TSA design requirement wasn't in the original, either.

Oh, the irony... (1)

Mateito (746185) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949117)

This is the Statue of "Liberty" [reference.com] .

Liberty: The condition of being free from restriction or control.

When an icon of freedom can't be visited without controls and restriction, what's left?

Re:Oh, the irony... (2, Insightful)

Wingchild (212447) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949187)

You're not "free" to spraypaint the Statue a different color, either. That's also a "restriction" on your "liberty" and possibly an infringement upon your First Amendment rights to free speech and expression.

America has always been the land of the free, with some caveats.

Re:Oh, the irony... (1)

vuvewux (792756) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949285)

Err, how exactly does this control or restrict you? You don't have to go there, and there's nothing stopping you FROM going.

PATTERN RECOGNITION ENABLED (1)

scotay (195240) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949119)

Recognized HUDDLED MASSES
Recognized TIRED
Recognized POOR
Recognized YEARNER
Recognized BREATHER

ALL FORCES DISPATCH INTERCEPT RECOMMENDED IMMEDIATELY

More technology means less privacy. (1)

blcamp (211756) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949122)


Regardless of the laws that say it is not supposed to be done, one has no choice but to assume that if it is possible to track you, monitor you, profile you, what have you... ...it's going to be done.

You simply have to accept this as one of many realities... especially in a Post-9/11 World.

Re:More technology means less privacy. (1)

smcavoy (114157) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949154)

so when they anal suppositories that will track everyone, thus eliminating terrorism (somehow), will you be first in line?

I feel very protected (1)

HaveNoMouth (556104) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949141)

I for one welcome our new fingerprint scanning overlords. I'm sure they have our best interests at heart, and we all know [slashdot.org] that fingerprint readers cannot be fooled [google.com] .

Lovely this is happening at a symbol of freedom. (5, Insightful)

Maestro4k (707634) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949142)

Most of the /. crowd will likely understand why this is bad and stupid to boot. You just have to love the irony though, orwellian tactics installed on lockers at one of the most enduring and prominent symbols of freedom in the world. What's next, required DNA samples if you want to buy a souvenier? (Wouldn't want those terrorists buying souveniers now would we?)

For those that don't get the stupid part of this let me explain. If you were a terrorist casing the statue of liberty for a future attack and noticed the lockers required fingerprint scans would you use one? Even if you didn't know they'd be checking them against the FBI database you'd have to be one seriously stupid terrorist to not realize the possibility exists and it could blow your cover. They'll probably find a random minor criminal or two and arrest them with some trumped up charges to make it sound/look like these are helping fight the war on terror.

Course the reality is they're not helping any, they're just further eroding what little privacy we have left and the terrorists will just avoid them. And yes I realize we're not guaranteed privacy in public places but running fingerprints without notice (on a regular basis, not just when you suspect someone of a crime) is a bit beyond the erosion of privacy we expect. It's just surreal, I don't think even Orwell thought things would get this silly.

Re:Lovely this is happening at a symbol of freedom (1)

nanter (613346) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949193)

Of course the terrorists aren't expected to be stupid enough to use one of these lockers. The purpose is clearly to act as a deterrent. This theoretically will make it harder to plant a bomb at the statue, when before it would have been relatively easy to place one in a locker.

Now, if they DID happen to be stupid enough to use one even with the scanners, that's just a bonus!

Rather ironic.. (1)

k98sven (324383) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949159)

I've always found this extra paranoia surrounding the Statue of Liberty a bit funny..

At least in my experience, the SoL doesn't have as great symbolic value outside the US as it does to americans.

What Americans consider important american symbols aren't always the same ones the rest of the world thinks of when they think of America.

Re:Rather ironic.. (1)

kahei (466208) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949252)


To date, I've seen about 3 bowling alleys, 12 icky hotels, 2 pachinko parlors and a record shop with fiberglass SoLs on.

That suggests some powerful symbolic value.

I think it's symbolic of 'trying to differentiate your little cuboid building from the other little cuboid buildings on the strip, without spending much money', which, now I think of it, is actually a big part of the American Dream.

whats the point? (1)

Suppafly (179830) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949160)

It's no like someone is going to take over the Statue of Liberty using box cutters and then crash it into downtown New York.

finger print scanners (1)

5m477m4n (787430) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949175)

Sweet, I'm buying a pack of gummie bears and heading to the Statue of Liberty.

Similar to Universal Studios in Florida? (4, Informative)

Hitiek (150559) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949184)

During a recent vacation to Universal Studios in Florida I had a chance to use what I assume are the same type of lockers. It worked reasonably well for me, but the person I was with had a lot of trouble getting it to read her fingerprint. There was also one reader that was in direct sunlight during part of the day, and would not read anyones fingerprint during that time.

There is one computer with a fingerprint reader and a touch screen for a bank of lockers. When renting the locker you had to put your finger on the reader twice. Once the computer had two reads that matched for you, it would give you a locker number, you put your stuff in it and push the button to lock it. When you come back you have to remember your locker number and enter that on a touch screen, then present your finger to the reader again. When your fingerprint matches, the system unlocks your locker and you get your stuff.

what I want to know... (1)

tuxette (731067) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949195)

...is do they sell Gummi Bears at the Statue of Liberty concession stands?

Convienently for terrorists (4, Interesting)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949200)

There is a Gift Shop located across from the lockers where they can purchase a package of Gummi Bears to bypass the biometric locks on the lockers.
http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/06/25/131 5254&tid=172 [slashdot.org]

I was just there... (4, Informative)

chrispyman (710460) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949201)

Earlier this week infact I visited the statue. Let me just say that security was incredibly tight, even moreso than at airports. To take the boat over to the island you first had to go through the standard metal detector/xray as you would at any airport. Next, if you wanted to get into the statue (and had a ticket to do so), you had to put all backpacks and large purses into one of these neat lockers. And after that, you went through a rather interesting machine that "sniffs" you for explosive materials and then go through another metal detector/xray. And even after all that security, you can only walk through the statue (actually the pedestal) while being watched and guided by a park ranger as well as several national park security gaurds. All and all it felt a bit like overkill, but considering that the statue is probably one of the most important symbols of America, it makes sense to so heavily gaurd it.

Fails to meet even minimum standards (1)

rm007 (616365) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949208)

The OECD guidelines for the use and handling of personal information issued in 1980, while not part of US law are a pretty good minimum standard to apply to any privacy and informatiom handling issue. Unless there is an Act of Congress that gives this the go-ahead (which is not mentioned in the article) this decision on what to do with information collected at the Statue of Liberty pretty much trashes the following principles:

Purpose Specification Principle: The purposes for which personal data are collected should be specified not later than at the time of collection and the subsequent use limited to the fulfilment of those purposes or such others as are not incompatible with those purposes and as are specified on each occasion of change of purpose.

Use Limitation Principle: Personal data should not be disclosed, made available or otherwise used for purposes other than those specified in accordance with th ePurpose Specification Principle except: with the consent of the data subject; or by the authority of law.

Liberty indeed.

Privacy Violation? (3, Insightful)

djrogers (153854) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949209)

Excuse me? How is this a privacy *violation*? You'd have to choose to voluntarily provide a fingerprint in a public place, and that's a violation? If I were standing on a street corner asking people to volunteer to have their fingerprints matched to the FBI database, would that be a privacy violation as well?

The only possible explanation (1)

jesser (77961) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949217)

The article notes that the design was dictated by the Transportation Security Administration.

The only possible explanation: the Statue of Liberty is actually a spaceship in disguise.

RTFA! NO NEWS HERE, MOVE ALONG SIR! (1)

cgadd (65348) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949223)

From the article, which even the submittor and slashdot editors couldn't be bothered to read:

> In applications like the biometric lockers, the print itself is not stored or sent to authorities.

> However, prints are being run through terrorist watch lists in the biggest deployment of biometrics yet -- the federal government's new system for tracking foreign travelers.

Fancy...But Technology Not Quite Ready (1)

doggiesnot (804940) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949231)

Fingerprint readers are fancy, and delightful to show. But, there are certain limitations. For instance, success and failure rates. How would you like to walk up to the reader and surprisingly open somebody else's locker? On the flip side, what if it just won't open for you! Worse yet, you forget which finger you used (your right index fingerprint is different from your left index fingerprint, etc.). Do you have to make a selection first? Because then you have a training issue. Finally, how far away is the locker from the reader? I don't want someone else to grab my stuff when it opens. Since I'm not a terrorist, I don't worry so much about the government keeping my prints. I'm sure they're not 'tracking my every movement'...for whatever reason. The real terrorists will probably not use it, or use a photograph of a fingerprint, or a spare finger, etc. Now we can identify terrorists by the smell of the decomposing finger in their pocket! Gross!

YAGI (2, Funny)

grunt107 (739510) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949260)

Yet Another Government Intrusion.

I do not agree w/the background check, but I would just not use the lockers. If they added 'just to visit' I would not visit the SoL.

The 'slippery-slope' of the checks is that they will expand and all state enforcements will report to a central database.

Of course, you get the 'I am not a criminal so I therefore have no problem w/these intrusions' from some people. Good for you. Maybe you can the first to sign up for the goverment's future Constant Resident Awareness Protection (CRAP) program, which will give you faster access to public buildings and services as long as you agree to have a GPS-monitor ID embedded in your skin.

I am not a terrorist or felon, but I object to the increasing government intrusion for my 'safety'. I am in the group loathe to sacrifice liberty for security.

My fingerprint reader story (4, Interesting)

JessLeah (625838) | more than 9 years ago | (#9949270)

I was once going to a client's data center at Globix [globix.com] . I was carrying a particularly nifty, but heavy, item that I found on the streets of Chinatown (an old Commodore monitor-- which, as I surmised, was still in working order!). Because I was holding this bulky object, I fumbled a bit as I pressed my finger to the scanner.

I was still let in.

So I went in, put the monitor down, and came back out to experiment. I tried another finger. It worked... I tried a knuckle. It worked...

Finally, I held my hair (long hair) back, leaned down, and gently pressed the tip of my NOSE to the scanner plate.

It worked.

Moral of the story: Biometric security is sometimes just so much heehaw, and it does malfunction (and yields false-positives as well as false-negatives).
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