Biometrics and security in Iraq (2007)
The U.S. military and Iraqi government have logged thousands of fingerprints and iris scans, but the systems are a long way from being fully up-to-date.
As state-level officials and other critics push back hard against the federal Real ID mandate here at home, the U.S. government is reporting success abroad with a biometric ID system it has installed in Iraq.
The automated biometric identity system being used by the Iraqi government now holds more than 350,000 sets of fingerprints, photos and retina scans, and “we increase the database by 4,000 or 5,000 each week,” Army Lt. Col. John W. Velliquette Jr. said in a teleconferenced briefing this week. Velliquette runs the fingerprint and retina scanning center in Baghdad’s International Zone. Iraqis are expected to assume full operation by next summer….
Iraqi Biometric Identification System
- Iraq Biometric Database Could Become a “Hit List,” Acknowledges Defense Dept. Program OfficerThe biometrics program manager in Iraq this week expressed concern that the database containing biometrics and secret files on thousand of Iraqis could “become a hit list if it gets in the wrong hands.” According to Lt. Col Velliquette, the Iraqi system has approximately 750,000 records in its database. Earlier, EPIC, Privacy International, and Human Rights Watch wrote to the US Secretary Defense to warn that the system will lead to reprisals and further killings. For more information, see Transcript of “The Role of Biometric in Counterinsurgency,’ blogs at Harpers and Wired. (Aug. 17)
- Human Rights Organizations Urge US Secretary of Defense to Investigate Biometric Database of Iraqis. In a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, EPIC, Privacy International, and Human Rights Watch warn that a new system of biometric identification contravenes international privacy standards and could lead to further reprisals and killings. The groups cite the particular risk of identification requirements in regions of the world torn by ethnic and religious division. The groups also note a 2007 report from the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board that said military use of biometric data raise substantial privacy concerns. For a discussion of identity systems and threats to privacy, see “Privacy and Human Rights Report 2005.” See also EPIC Biometrics page and Privacy International resources. (Jul. 27) …
Can you see the chains and blinders on the soldiers above? Exactly. Physical restraints are no longer needed. They were enslaved long before they were deployed in service to their invisible masters.
I’m sure such databases will be include DNA profiles for use in “public health” campaigns: