Re: TERRORISM: Using applied science

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Mon Sep 24 2001 - 12:00:40 MDT

Spike said he didn't understand Larry's proposal for identy cards
with a big database behind it. Obviously Larry is trying to sell

The "big brother" database is precisely what I am trying to avoid.
There already are databases of what passengers are traveling.
I have no problem with those databases being periodically scanned
for individuals who are on "watch lists". This prevents air
travel by wanted criminals or potential criminals. One has to be
*very* careful regarding for which crimes scanning is allowed.
It seems to me scanning for felony level crimes is reasonable.
This gets sticky because then one has to ask what one does
about felony convicts who have "paid" their debt to society.
You obviously want to avoid extending this to things like
scanning for people who have parking violations or unpaid bills.
[I'll note that a recent Federal Law requires you to give your
S.S. number when applying for a Driver's licence -- this is
an attempt to locate fathers with unpaid child support.]

Once you know the reservation system is being screened for suspects,
then you have to make sure that the person getting on the plane
really *is* the person named on the ticket. Logically this would
seem to require running the card through a reader at the
gateway entrance and matching it with a biomemetic scan.
Unfortunately this means you will have a relatively higher
cost because you have to have the matching hardware & software
at each gate. However, it seems likely to be cheaper than
the big database approach because with that you have a
communications requirement as well. You don't want it at the
security checkpoint because someone who has breeched airport
security could attack someone in a lavatory, steal their ticket
and manage to board the plane. As Dan points out, face and
handprint would both be useful.

The point of all this is that *you* have your identity data
and not the government. This avoids the possibility of the
government monitoring you in public places.

I suspect that one could design a system that issued all foreign
nationals such an identity card upon entering the country.
A face and hand scan and card programming should take more than
a few minutes IMO.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:40:56 MDT