I recently attended the Biometrics Consortium conference in Baltimore where I learned about the lastest developments in biometric security systems. Three or four vendors were demonstrating iris-at-a-distance systems that have profound privacy implications.
For example, Sarnoff’s system is able to capture iris information as people pass through a door frame or look at a drive-through kiosk. The image capture and processing can be done without the person being aware, and iris recognition can be far more accurate and reliable than the face recognition systems that have been used in these situations.
We need to have serious discussions about the societal impacts of biometric systems, and this was the topic of my presentation at a NIST workshop on usability and biometrics.