statism watch

UK: Commons committee rejects six-year DNA records plan

Monday, March 8th, 2010

So the DNA of innocent people will ‘only’ be kept on file for three years. One day is completely unacceptable. If less than one percent of cases are solved using the DNA database, they’re not spending all that money to maintain it to fight crime. It’s for something else. In the US, DNA is being sent to the military for research. Why? Should we be taking a closer look at the kind of warnings well placed people like Aldous Huxley made about the use of eugenics technology in Brave New World?

Related: DNA matches solve only a fraction of crimes, police admit | UK Police routinely arresting people to get DNA, inquiry claims | UK: Terror ’suspects’ could remain on DNA database for life, innocents get 6 years | UK: Home Office climbs down over keeping DNA records on innocent | UK: Police ‘must purge innocent DNA’ | UK: Police ‘arrest innocent youths for their DNA’, officer claims | US: Ruling allowing Taser use to get DNA may be nation’s first | UK: Fury as Commons denied vote on DNA database | UK: DNA details of 1.1m children on database | Controversial US measure would require DNA sampling at arrest | Police to demand blood, urine at roadside stops | Newborn Blood-Storage Law Stirs Fears of DNA Warehouse | Man spends 18 hours in police cell and has his DNA taken for ‘dropping an apple core’ | Widen DNA dragnet: Police Chief Blair

Alan Travis, The Guardian
March 8, 2010

MPs’ report ahead of key vote says DNA profiles of inncent people should be kept for no longer than three years

Government proposals to keep the DNA profiles of innocent people for up to six years have been rejected by the Commons home affairs select committee.

The MPs’ report, published in advance of a key Commons vote on DNA, says they are not convinced that such a long retention period will lead to any more cases being cleared, let alone getting more convictions.

Instead, the cross-party committee backs a maximum period of three years for the police to keep the DNA profiles of those people they arrest but release before they are charged or convicted.

The home affairs committee says its short inquiry has concluded that as few as 0.3% of crimes are detected as a result, at least in part, of matching crime-scene DNA to a personal profile on the national DNA database.

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Biometric ID Card for all US Workers Is at Center of Immigration Plan

Monday, March 8th, 2010

The PASS/REALID program is resurrected yet again (that didn’t take long), and this time the political spin is that it will solve issues around immigration. It’s a national ID card not only for the US, but fits into the overall initiative of North American integration. You know your new Canadian driver’s license? The one you’re going to have to fingerprint for? Same thing. This is a global initiative to track and trace populations. In addition to Canada and the US, India and the UK are two states that this journal is aware of that are issuing standardized biometric ID. The UK is also issuing its police forces with portable fingerprint scanners, so you can see the sort of biometrically-enabled tyranny we’re headed for here. Why not just start wearing dog collars? It’s the same thing. You are the herd, and your authoritarian masters will keep track of every little thing you do from now on. What do you think of that idea?

Related: US Move to National ID Cards Delayed | UK: Chipped ID card scheme launched in Greater Manchester | UK Government plans to link criminal records to ID cards | UK national ID card cloned in 12 minutes | Alberta Hutterites need enhanced driver’s licence photos: top court | US: REALID tracking chip ID card resurrected by PASS initiative | India to issue all 1.2 billion citizens with biometric ID cards | BC Bars swipe patron IDs, collect data | Incoming CSIS chief to seek biometric data at border | Ontario’s high-tech driver’s licences pose privacy risk: watchdog | Moratorium sought on RFID driver’s licenses | RFID passport security defeated in minutes | Saskatchewan adopting US-mandated ID card, to include RFID chip, facial recognition | Drivers licences with chips spark heated debate | Ontario Privacy Czar Worried about High-Tech Licences | North American ID card in the works through SPP | Ontario sees allies in licence proposal | New licence may double as passport | Wilkins touts ’simple’ ID card for travel to U.S.

Laura Meckler, The Wall Street Journal
March 8, 2010

Lawmakers working to craft a new comprehensive immigration bill are proposing a new national biometric ID card that would be required of all U.S. workers.

Lawmakers working to craft a new comprehensive immigration bill have settled on a way to prevent employers from hiring illegal immigrants: a national biometric identification card all American workers would eventually be required to obtain.

Under the potentially controversial plan still taking shape in the Senate, all legal U.S. workers, including citizens and immigrants, would be issued an ID card with embedded information, such as fingerprints, to tie the card to the worker.

The ID card plan is one of several steps advocates of an immigration overhaul are taking to address concerns that have defeated similar bills in the past.

The uphill effort to pass a bill is being led by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), who plan to meet with President Barack Obama as soon as this week to update him on their work. An administration official said the White House had no position on the biometric card.

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11 More U.S. Airports Get Body Scanners

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Flashback: Exposed: Naked Body Scanner Images Of Film Star Printed, Circulated By Airport Staff | Radiation Safety Group Says Naked Body Scanners Increase Risk Of Cancer | UK: Airline passengers have ‘no right’ to refuse naked body scanners | Full-body scanner blind to bomb parts | Airport scanner companies queue for business after ‘underpants bomber’ | German ‘Fleshmob’ Protests Airport Scanners | Body scanners capable of storing, sending images, group says | Dutch police develop mobile body scans | Whole-body airport scanners are basically safe–or are they? | Airport security starts in the parking lot | Body scanners coming to Canadian airports | UK: New scanners break child porn laws | US implements travel profiling: Tougher air screening for ’security-risk’ countries | UK: Full-body scanners being ordered for airports, says Gordon Brown | Group slams Chertoff on conflict of interest in scanner promotion | The ‘Israelification’ of airports: High security, little bother | Underwear Bomber Renews Calls for ‘Naked Scanners’ | Federal Privacy Commissioner raises alarm over terror security measures | Privacy watchdog OKs ‘naked’ airport scanners | Security may soon test ‘virtual strip search’ at large Canadian aiports | US Border Guards to Expand Use of X-Ray Body Scanners | Homeland Security seeks Bladerunner-style lie detector | Greyhound introduces security screening of passengers, bans fruit, carry-ons | Germany rejects full-body scans at airports | Interpol wants facial recognition database to catch suspects | ‘Pre-crime’ detector shows promise | Eye scans, fingerprints to control NZ borders | Air passengers to undergo ‘virtual strip search’ | US Homeland Security Keen on ‘Novel’ Israeli Airport Security Technology | Israel startup uses behavioral science to identify terrorists | Airport scanner a ‘virtual strip search’

David Kravets, Wired.com
March 5, 2010

Transportation officials announced Friday 11 more United States airports will begin receiving full-body imaging machines

“By accelerating the deployment of this technology, we are enhancing our capability to detect and disrupt threats of terrorism across the nation,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a statement.

Despite concerns of privacy and their effectiveness, the 11 airports are to get the 150 machines beginning Monday at Boston’s Logan International Airport, and one at the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. In all, 30 U.S. airports will employ the scanning devices.

Fliers declining to submit to the machines that create X-ray-like virtual images of the body may get intense pat-downs from Transportation Security Administration authorities. The combined 150 imaging machines are being bought, in part, by $1 billion the government set aside from its $787 billion federal bailout bill.

The American Civil Liberties Union has decried the scanners as “virtual strip searchs.” The Electronic Privacy Information Center, in a Freedom of Information Act request, said the machines are capable of storing and transmitting images of passengers despite the government’s claim to the contrary.

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Fingerprints Now Required to Shred (That Means Skateboard, Dude)

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

W. T. F. Expect more of this sort of thing as every aspect of your life is micromanaged and trcked under the technological control grid. Enjoy being fingerprinted and iris scanned, prisoners.

Flashback: UK: Mobile fingerprint scanner for English and Welsh police | Australia to fingerprint, face-scan visitors from Muslim nations | Homeland Security to scan fingerprints of travellers exiting the US | Tories propose law allowing fingerprinting before charges are laid | UK: New biometric security checks could include brain scans, heart rhythm fingerprinting | Parents, children to be fingerprinted at initial 250+ nursery schools in UK | Police will use new device to take fingerprints in street, vendors say face scanning next | Scots schoolchildren to be fingerprinted in controversial ID scheme | Eye scans, fingerprints to control NZ borders | UNBC students give thumbs down to fingerprint scanners | Give public biometrics the finger

Susan Taylor, NBC Poway
March 4, 2010

Skateboarders in Poway will have to register and be fingerprinted before using the Skate Park.

The city council voted in favor of the new high tech entry system Tuesday night. Skaters will have to press a thumb pad on a turnstile. If a scanner matches a skateboarder’s print to the one given in a new, free registration process, they’ll be allowed in. A security camera will record the entry.

Park users who break the house rules or indulge in roughhousing, bullying or vandalism will have their thumbprint voided.

“So the next time they put their thumb in (the thumb pad), it will not work,” says Poway City Councilman Jim Cunningham. “Then they will contact someone and find out why.”

To critics who may see all this as somewhat Orwellian, Cunningham has this comeback “We’re not Big Brother. The thumbprints are not going to Homeland Security. [Ed. Note: Yet. You're being conditioned.] They’re being used specifically for this particular facility, and we want people to enjoy it.”

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UK: Mobile fingerprint scanner for English and Welsh police

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

The technology doesn’t have to be capable of storing fingerprints – that’s a red herring – other biometric initiatives, like the UK national ID card, already collect this data. Doesn’t anyone see what’s going on here? If you don’t have a problem with this you may as well just go ahead and put on a collar and a gimp mask. Speak out. Shout out!

Flashback: Australia to fingerprint, face-scan visitors from Muslim nations | UK: Chipped ID card scheme launched in Greater Manchester | UK Government plans to link criminal records to ID cards | Incoming CSIS chief to seek biometric data at border | Parents, children to be fingerprinted at initial 250+ nursery schools in UK | Police will use new device to take fingerprints in street, vendors say face scanning next | Scots schoolchildren to be fingerprinted in controversial ID scheme | Eye scans, fingerprints to control NZ borders | Air Canada objects to US plans to fingerprint exiting foreigners | American Border Officers Want to Fingerprint Canadians at SPP Bridge | UNBC students give thumbs down to fingerprint scanners | Give public biometrics the finger

BBC News
March 4, 2010

All 43 police forces in England and Wales are to start using mobile fingerprint scanners to check the identity of suspects in the street.

Up to 3,000 devices, the size of a mobile phone, will be deployed this summer, enabling officers to cross-reference prints with national records.

The National Policing Improvement Agency has signed a three-year contract worth £9m with US firm Cogent Systems.

Civil liberty campaigners fear the devices could lead to random searches.

Liberty said last year it had “very real concerns” about the policy and there needed to be further debate over use of the machines.

It called for a government consultation to “determine the proper boundaries of police conduct in this very sensitive area”.

But senior officers say the scanners will speed up criminal inquiries and save thousands of hours in police time.

They say the scanned fingerprints would not be added to a database.

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Research Calls Forensic DNA Technique Into Question

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Mitochondrial DNA, as the article notes, is best for aged or degraded DNA samples where the DNA in a cell’s nucleus is unreliable. This throws into question, to some degree, not only ‘cold case’ genetic evidence, but also some of the results of evolutionary genetics: like the IBM-National Geographic ‘Genographic Project‘, which is building up a massive database of DNA sent in by the well-meaning and curious anxious to find out about their ancestry.

Flashback: Israeli Scientists Show DNA Evidence Can be Fabricated | UK: Pilot project for DNA, isotope analysis of immigrants ‘deeply flawed’ | Study finds genetic discrimination by insurance firms | US: Ruling allowing Taser use to get DNA may be nation’s first | UK: Police ‘arrest innocent youths for their DNA’, officer claims | UK: Fury as Commons denied vote on DNA database | Australians refused insurance because of poor genes

Brandon Keim, Wired.com
March 3, 2010

A DNA-matching technique often used in forensics has been called to the stand.

Fine-grained analysis of DNA found in cell structures called mitochondria suggests that it can vary widely between tissues, making samples tricky to compare.

“I wouldn’t say that it throws other results out the window, but it does throw a curve ball,” said Nickolas Papadopoulos, a Johns Hopkins University geneticist and co-author of the study, published March 4 in Nature.

Mitochondria are found by the hundreds in every human cell. They convert glucose to energy, and possess their own tiny genomes, separate and distinct from the organismal genome found in each cell nucleus.

In the mid-1990s, law enforcement added mitochondrial DNA comparison to its forensic genetic toolkit. Because there are so many mitochondria in each cell, readable copies of their genomes can often be found even when the nuclear genome has been damaged. This is especially useful for old, highly degraded biological samples.

Mitochondrial DNA-matching is based on the assumption that it doesn’t vary much in an individual: Aside from a few inevitable mutations, mitochondrial DNA are generally supposed to be the same in, say, heart cells and hair cells. But when Papadopoulos’ team applied the latest in gene-sequencing technology to mitochondrial genomes from nine tissue types in two people, that’s not what they found.

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Nose picked by military research for next-gen face scanning, mood analysis

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Flashback: Australia to fingerprint, face-scan visitors from Muslim nations | Privacy commissioner OKs Barwatch software | US: REALID tracking chip ID card resurrected by PASS initiative | India to issue all 1.2 billion citizens with biometric ID cards | BC Bars swipe patron IDs, collect data | Incoming CSIS chief to seek biometric data at border | Australian nightclub installs face-scanning security system | Alberta bars could collect names, photos under proposed bill | Let’s face it, soon Big Brother will have no trouble recognising you | UK: Face scanners to be installed in schools | Police will use new device to take fingerprints in street, vendors say face scanning next | Interpol wants facial recognition database to catch suspects | ‘Pre-crime’ detector shows promise | Billboards that look back | Saskatchewan adopting US-mandated ID card, to include RFID chip, facial recognition | Tanks, Face-Scanning Cameras Part of ‘Discreet’ 2010 Games Security | Tokyo Vending Machines Learn New Trick: Facial Recognition | North American ID card in the works through SPP | Alberta privacy commission to rule on bar scans

Lesley Ciarula Taylor, The Toronto Star
March 2, 2010

The nose knows.

Knows who you are, where you’ve been and, eventually, how nervous you are.

Researchers at two English universities are in the early stages of turning the nose into the ultimate biometric-scan feature: hard to conceal, difficult to change and distinctive from person to person.

“The nose is remarkably good. It lends itself quite well to recognition,” Professor Melvyn Smith of the University of the West of England in Bristol told the Star.

Smith’s team have developed PhotoFace, part of a $1 billion project by the Imperial College, the British Home Office, and General Dynamics, the U.S. defence industry contractor, to create a sophisticated and reliable facial-recognition system.

Noses are a spinoff of that.

“Noses are prominent facial features and yet their use as a biometric has been largely unexplored,” said Dr. Adrian Evans of the University of Bath, which took PhotoFace and focused it on the nose.

“Ears have been looked at in detail, eyes have been looked at in terms of iris recognition, but the nose has been neglected.”

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Australia to fingerprint, face-scan visitors from Muslim nations

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

You know your new driver’s license? That’s part of the international biometric-enabled control grid you will not be told about until it’s already in place. That’s right – this isn’t just for brown people travelling from the Middle East. It’s for you, too. So what are you going to do about it now that you know?

Flashback: Privacy commissioner OKs Barwatch software | US: REALID tracking chip ID card resurrected by PASS initiative | India to issue all 1.2 billion citizens with biometric ID cards | BC Bars swipe patron IDs, collect data | Incoming CSIS chief to seek biometric data at border | Australian nightclub installs face-scanning security system | Alberta bars could collect names, photos under proposed bill | Let’s face it, soon Big Brother will have no trouble recognising you | Police will use new device to take fingerprints in street, vendors say face scanning next | Interpol wants facial recognition database to catch suspects | ‘Pre-crime’ detector shows promise | Billboards that look back | Saskatchewan adopting US-mandated ID card, to include RFID chip, facial recognition | Tanks, Face-Scanning Cameras Part of ‘Discreet’ 2010 Games Security | Tokyo Vending Machines Learn New Trick: Facial Recognition | North American ID card in the works through SPP | Alberta privacy commission to rule on bar scans

CBC News
February 23, 2010

Australia plans to fingerprint and face-scan visitors from 10 high-risk countries, say government officials.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced the plan on Tuesday as he released a government white paper compiled by intelligence agencies. The paper said Islamist radicals born or raised in Australia represent a permanent and increased threat to the country.

Speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith echoed the Prime Minister’s comments. He said the white paper shows that the threat from al-Qaeda is evolving, and Australia must also be aware of threats from “homegrown” terrorists.

“We have to be very careful to watch that in Australia,” he said.

An Australian court handed out heavy jail sentences last week to five Australians of Lebanese, Libyan and Bangladeshi origin for conspiring to commit an act, or acts, in preparation for a terrorist act between July 2004 and November 2005. They had gathered weapons and planned to attack an unknown target.

Smith would not say which countries will be included in the list, but applicants from those nations will have to submit their fingerprints and photos to be cross-checked against databases of known criminals and terrorists.

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Suit possible over baby DNA sent to military lab for national database

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Just help yourself, government. Don’t bother asking, it’s not as though we (or our children) have rights anymore. You can thank Bush II for this… he signed a bill in 2008 which critics have described as the first step towards a national US DNA database. It explicitly legitimizes the use of genomic data for genetic research without the knowledge or consent of citizens. This is what happens when you don’t pay attention to what your government is doing. Oh, and this is already in place in Canada. This site leaves it to you to work through the spin and think of the future consequences of unrestricted government access to your DNA.

Flashback: The government has your baby’s DNA | UK Police routinely arresting people to get DNA, inquiry claims | UK: Police ‘must purge innocent DNA’ | Newborn’s Blood Samples Raise Questions of Privacy | Study finds genetic discrimination by insurance firms | US: Ruling allowing Taser use to get DNA may be nation’s first | UK: Police ‘arrest innocent youths for their DNA’, officer claims | UK: Fury as Commons denied vote on DNA database | Australians refused insurance because of poor genes

Mary Ann Roser, Austin American Statesman
February 22, 2010

An Austin lawyer threatened to pursue a new federal lawsuit Monday after learning that some newborn blood samples in Texas went to the U.S. military for potential use in a database for law enforcement purposes.

The Department of State Health Services never mentioned the database to Jim Harrington, director of the Texas Civil Rights Project, who settled a lawsuit in December with the state over the indefinite storage of newborn blood without parental consent, or to the American-Statesman, which first reported on the little-known blood storage practice last spring. Harrington said he thought another suit was likely unless the health department destroys the information obtained from the blood samples or obtains consent.

“This is the worst case of bad faith I have dealt with as a lawyer,” he said Monday.

Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for the Texas attorney general’s office, which represented the health department, fired back. “During this litigation, Harrington was provided accurate answers to the questions he asked,” he said.

“Once Harrington negotiated $26,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs for himself, accepted a settlement agreement and got his desired headlines, he was satisfied and dropped his lawsuit against DSHS. It appears recent media reports caused Harrington to backtrack in an effort to obscure how he chose to handle this case,” he said.

An article Monday by the Texas Tribune, a news Web site, said the state health department sent 800 anonymous samples to the military to help create a national mitochondrial DNA database. The samples were sent in 2003 and 2007, according to the department’s Web site.

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Exposed: Naked Body Scanner Images Of Film Star Printed, Circulated By Airport Staff

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

The hoax of the benign body scanner has been entirely exploded now. These machines need to be banned, and they need to throw the book at Michael Chertoff for corruption. Want to know how that will happen? It’s up to you, the reader, to get this information out.

Flashback: Radiation Safety Group Says Naked Body Scanners Increase Risk Of Cancer | UK: Airline passengers have ‘no right’ to refuse naked body scanners | Full-body scanner blind to bomb parts | Airport scanner companies queue for business after ‘underpants bomber’ | German ‘Fleshmob’ Protests Airport Scanners | Body scanners capable of storing, sending images, group says | Dutch police develop mobile body scans | Whole-body airport scanners are basically safe–or are they? | Airport security starts in the parking lot | Body scanners coming to Canadian airports | UK: New scanners break child porn laws | US implements travel profiling: Tougher air screening for ’security-risk’ countries | UK: Full-body scanners being ordered for airports, says Gordon Brown | Group slams Chertoff on conflict of interest in scanner promotion | The ‘Israelification’ of airports: High security, little bother | Underwear Bomber Renews Calls for ‘Naked Scanners’ | Federal Privacy Commissioner raises alarm over terror security measures | Privacy watchdog OKs ‘naked’ airport scanners | Security may soon test ‘virtual strip search’ at large Canadian aiports | US Border Guards to Expand Use of X-Ray Body Scanners | Homeland Security seeks Bladerunner-style lie detector | Greyhound introduces security screening of passengers, bans fruit, carry-ons | Germany rejects full-body scans at airports | Interpol wants facial recognition database to catch suspects | ‘Pre-crime’ detector shows promise | Eye scans, fingerprints to control NZ borders | Air passengers to undergo ‘virtual strip search’ | US Homeland Security Keen on ‘Novel’ Israeli Airport Security Technology | Israel startup uses behavioral science to identify terrorists | Airport scanner a ‘virtual strip search’

Paul Joseph Watson, PrisonPlanet.com
February 9, 2010

Claims on behalf of authorities that naked body scanner images are immediately destroyed after passengers pass through new x-ray backscatter devices have been proven fraudulent after it was revealed that naked images of Indian film star Shahrukh Khan were printed out and circulated by airport staff at Heathrow in London.

UK Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said last week that the images produced by the scanners were deleted “immediately” and airport staff carrying out the procedure are fully trained and supervised.

“It is very important to stress that the images which are captured by body scanners are immediately deleted after the passenger has gone through the body scanner,” Adonis told the London Evening Standard.

Adonis was forced to address privacy concerns following reports that the images produced by the scanners broke child pornography laws in the UK. When the scanners were first introduced, it was also speculated that images of famous people would be ripe for abuse as the pictures produced by the devices make genitals “eerily visible” according to journalists who have investigated trials of the technology.

However, the Transport Secretary’s assurances were demolished after it was revealed on the BBC’s Jonathan Ross show Friday that Indian actor Shahrukh Khan had passed through a body scan and later had the image of his naked body printed out and circulated by Heathrow security staff.

“I was in London recently going through the airport and these new machines have come up, the body scans. You’ve got to see them. It makes you embarrassed — if you’re not well endowed,” said Khan, referring to how the scans produce clear images of a person’s genitals.

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