There's a good retrospective on biometrics by Jim Wayman (former director of
the U.S. Biometrics Center) in this month's Info Security Magazine, available

  "It's going to be hard to know how these technologies can be applied to
  increase national security. They might be an added tool, but it will require
  a lot more human intervention. We're not just going to turn these machines
  on and start catching terrorists," he says.

  Because he works primarily for the government, Wayman says he was irritated
  with the way some biometrics vendors tried to capitalize on Sept. 11 by
  suggesting their technology could have prevented the terrorist attacks.

  "No, the government didn't have this stuff in place, precisely because it
  had been working on it and knew its limitations and didn't find any value
  for the costs involved. The government has been on top of this; the
  government's position hasn't changed," he says.

It's nice to see an honest, commonsense assessment like this instead of the
usual biometrics-will-solve-everything stuff (after Sept.11 I was contacted by
a number of biometrics-peddlers, including one who got quite nasty when I
suggested that his wares weren't the panacea he seemed to think they were).


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