Letter to the editor
Introducing biometric identity devices at airports for anything other than
airport and airline employees, where real security issues require correction,
is uncalled for and presents a danger to privacy ["Facing the need for biometrics," Federal Computer Week, Oct. 1, 2001].
The reasons for requiring ID at the airport are questionable at best.
What does this requirement do for security? You are scanned and searched
as you move to your flight, what does ID do? It certainly does establish
for the airline that you have not resold your ticket, but how is security
improved? Let us all keep in mind that the terrorists of Sept. 11 were here
on student and tourist visas, they had ID, and that did not stop them from
doing what they did.
Any move to improve security that infringes on citizen privacy must
come with a risk analysis that justifies the cost, demonstrates a tangible
increase in security and makes a solid case for why privacy should be violated.
We're all too willing of late to go with knee-jerk measures to "improve"
security that are not based on any analysis but do give the facade of something
being done to make people safer.
Current technologies provide many opportunities for extraordinary invasiveness
into private lives, and we must guard against our current national tragedy
being the springboard for those who sell such tools and who otherwise carelessly
consider privacy from feeding on the body of our damaged sense of safety.