The Economist on the fallibility of biometrics

http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2010/10/biometrics -- fairly short article, but packed with good stuff.  Anyone who has any interest in this field should read it.

Specifically, people involved in the UID project in India should read this.  Yes, this article is aimed at more at terrorism prevention than mass-scale UID, but many of the points mentioned still apply.  And if you take the problems described in that article, and add in collusion by the operator, which is very, *VERY* likely in India UID, you have the potential for massive fraud and systematic abuse by whoever is in power.

Some quotes:

  - But in its rush to judgment, the FBI did more than anything, before or since, to discredit the use of fingerprints as a reliable means of identification.

  - What the Mayfield case teaches about biometrics in general is that, no matter how accurate the technology used for screening, it is only as good as the system of administrative procedures in which it is embedded.

  - The panel of scientists, engineers and legal experts who carried out the study concludes that biometric recognition is not only "inherently fallible", but also in dire need of some fundamental research on the biological underpinnings of human distinctiveness.

  - The body of case law on the use of biometric technology is growing, with some recent cases asking serious questions about the admissibility of biometric evidence in court.

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