May 01, 2007

Of Biometrics and Privacy

At each RSA show, I’ve noticed that the emphasis on biometric security was enlarging, and that the vendors of this type of security were in deadly earnestness about the usefulness and reliability of their products. They were right. A consumer has happened along that values privacy and the security of that privacy to the extent that they put Army Intelligence, the CIA, and the NSA combined all to shame. This particular consumer would endure weeks of torture rather than reveal secrets. If the Mossad were to emulate this consumer, the security of Israel would be absolute.

I’m speaking, of course, about the recent adaptation of voice recognition biometric security devices being installed on preteen girls’ diaries. Really - I’ve seen commercials for them. If voice recognition can pass the rigorous demands and fanatical testing that is no doubt being conducted by this new class of consumers, then this is a security technology that should be incorporated in the highest levels of the Pentagon. Any person who has met a preteen girl knows that I’m not being facetious, here. The person who marketed voice recognition to this segment of the population is brilliant. True, maybe the fate of the world doesn’t depend on the diarist’s little brother not knowing about her crush on Bobby in Homeroom, but perhaps the fate of the little brother depends on his inability to read her diary. And like little brothers everywhere, he is going to be using everything short of a nuclear warhead to try and open that diary.

There is real world testing being conducted at this moment. If this technology passes the test – we’ll wait and see what the girls have to say about it – then with a little tweaking, it should be able to withstand more serious assaults. Visions of Tom Cruise being lowered by a wire into a frilly pink bedroom aside, voice recognition technology is most likely going to be taken much more seriously.

Bobby from Homeroom will be relieved.

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