Biometric ID Cards Doomed To Fail
The UK plans on issuing large numbers of biometric ID cards to stop fraud and terrorism; travelers to the United States will be required to have visas with biometric data by October of 2004.
However, Simon Davies, an information systems expert at the London School of Economics, states that the system has serious limitations that effectively invalidate the system. The problem is that these systems are only about 99% accurate; that is, one false match for every hundred records. While that sounds good, in a system like that proposed for the UK, 60 million records will be involved. That means that any given person's biometric data would only limit the field to 600,000 records!
One of the earliest biometric systems proposed in science fiction novels is the palm lock, used in Frank Herbert's 1965 novel Dune.
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