Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Oh! An ID titbit

Having just bollocked Gerald Haworth for capitalising on the dead, I suspect I may be about to indulge in the same vice myself. Via Phil Carter, an interesting point relating to the explosion that slaughtered US soldiers in Mosul last week. Apparently Iraqis permitted to enter US Marine bases, as well as the citizens of Fallujah, are being registered in a biometric database and have their retinas scanned. Not that it kept the killer out of Forward Operating Base Marez, though.

This is a central issue in countering the idea that ID cards will make us safer. Biometrics tell you that a person is the same person who registered a particular set of details. They don't tell you whether those details (called the biographical footprint) were accurate. They also don't tell you what the database doesn't record. Before any of this can help you arrest a terrorist, though, you need to know who you're looking for - which set of details in the files is the one you're after. First, catch your fish. You need to find out who is the enemy, before you can worry about who the enemy suspects are. This can only be done by investigative work. And if you have worthwhile evidence against them, you can charge them just as well under their assumed name anyway.

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