Re: Iris Scans: Security Breaktrhough Or Privacy
"Are iris scans a wonder weapon against crime and terrorism, or a way for the government to invade our privacy and track all of our movements?" Well, as you point out, at current, they're definitely neither. On top of taking a while and possibly requiring you to hold still, the setup in the Carnegie Mellon experiment seemed rather bulky and required connection to extra equipment, like a laptop. It would be pretty hard to have one of them scanning you without you noticing. Now, naturally the technology will get smaller and faster as more research goes into it, but it seems like that's still a ways off. The technology is cool, and any conjecture is purely hypothetical, but this certainly still speaks to growing concerns about privacy in our time.
The concern is there - corporate interests, in particular, have been lnclined to to take a 'shoot first and ask questions later' approach when it comes to as-yet-unregulated means of tracking customers. Think of the controversy surrounding anonymous WiFi tracking at retail outlets like Nordstrom's to see how long people remain in-store, etc. As you point out, this represents a hypothetical new ballgame, where their database could remember you even if you walk into another store of theirs on the other side of the country. To be honest, I'm skeptical even of law enforcement having access to this. Because it operates without the scanee's knowledge, it seems more prone to abuse. Even if a warrant or special permission were required for it's use, if it was used without one, who could prove it?