Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Retina scans at the elementary school

U.S. military doing a retina scan of a civilian in Fallujah.

For those of you who have been following this blog for a long time now might remember my reflections on the occupation of Fallujah, Iraq by the U.S. government. I said at the time that the imposition on all of its citizens to carry both a fingerprinted I.D. card and have a retina scan on file with the occupiers, in order to get in or out of that city, was only a prelude to what this same government would ultimately impose on us here in 'Murica. I also said then that what the Feds were doing in Fallujah was an actual practice session for everyone else they ruled. I never thought that the day of actual implementation would arrive so soon here on our very shores.

The following article is from today's news cycle and is about how some elementary schools will now require retina scans to gain entry. What better place to start the totalitarian experience than in the proto-prisons of public education? The indoctrination of passive acceptance and supine deference to authority have always been a primary theme of government schools, starting with a solemn Pledge of Allegiance every morning. The key paragraph for me was:

Funding for the project, more than $369,000, was made possible by a school safety grant through the National Institute of Justice, a research branch of the U.S. Department of Justice. "The idea is to improve school safety for the children," said Phil Meara, superintendent of the Freehold Borough School District in NJ, on Monday. "We had a swipe-card system that operated the doors, but the technology was obsolete."

Aldous Huxley could not have written a more acerbic satirical paragraph, that could have been taken straight from Brave New World, that was more spine-chillingly scary in tone and content.

I'm tired of seeing all this coming, I want to be wrong!


Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both. ---Benjamin Franklin


Max said...

Holy fuck! And it's worse than you thought, Beamis.

From Eyemetric Identity System's website:

The iris project was completed through funding provided by a grant issued by the National Institute of Justice. The primary goal of the grant was not to test the accuracy of iris technology; that has been independently proven. The goal was to study "John Q. Public's" feelings towards the use of iris
technology in a public environment. The independent evaluator, Dr. Craig
Uchida, President of Justice & Security Strategies, Inc. assigned to the project, reported that, "This project was completed on time, within budget and without problems. The parents' and staff's acceptance of the technology exceeded my initial expectations." The success and national recognition of this project was the motivating factor in forming Eyemetric Identity Systems.

I wonder who owns this company...

Audie said...

It's funny how, one by one, old episodes of the Twilight Zone and Star Trek no longer seem like science fiction.

This story also reminded me of another news item I read today at work, which described a system already appearing in some stores (not Whole Foods, though -- yet): Customers sign up for a "biometric payment" account, handing over a scan of their fingerprint and their banking and/or credit card information, and once the account is set up, they can go shopping, bring their groceries to the register, and instead of handing over cash, check, or credit card, they put their finger on a little screen, and zip! -- down goes their bank account balance (or up goes their credit card balance) for the total.

Eerie, but people are signing up like crazy where it's available.


Max said...

Why do people think this biometric stuff is fun? It scares the bejesus out of me.

beamis said...

It ain't the government and it is convenient. It is never convenient or welcome when the government wants your vital information.

It's the difference between a free market choice and answering questions at gunpoint.

I'm still with you MM, I ain't interested in getting into too many different databases.