A Double-Edged Sword
The search for the perfect assurance of our identity or uniqueness may not yet be over. But the technology of biometrics has clearly established that such an objective is not only achievable, but in early practical form, ready and waiting for effective use.
The issue of how this technology impacts the treasured right of privacy and civil liberties is a valid concern. Any advance in automated human identification can be a double-edged sword; abused by those who dismiss the importance of the individual for the “greater good,” yet also holding the potential as a tool for enhanced individuality and protection of identity when used properly. Achieving the proper balance is critical.
Russ Ryan is a vice president of the National Biometric Security Project (NBSP). The company’s mission is to help government and private-sector organizations protect the civil infrastructure from terrorist attacks via the timely deployment of biometric technologies for authentication and identification. NBSP provides the government and private sectors with authoritative training, product and technology testing and research and acquisition support to aid in the evaluation, acquisition and deployment of biometric technology. Mr. Ryan is responsible for NBSP’s private-sector outreach along with the management of the company’s strategic and marketing communications programs.