The FBI, the Dutch Government and the EU are all considering the development of large fingerprint databases. As a private person I’m not altogether happy with this decision. There are a number of reasons for this:
- Fingerprints are quite good for solving crimes. However, the art (yes, not science) of recognizing fingerprints is dodgy, to say the least. Only recently real scientists are starting to take an interest in fingerprints. Numerous cases are known where fingerprints were used as the final evidence only to be discovered later on that they were not identified correctly. When you get larger databases the chance of an accidental match increases and more innocent people are investigated.
- To make up for the dodgy science of fingerprints, it’s a small step to also include DNA. Currently, at least in the Netherlands, if you are convicted of a crime (IIRC, no matter what crime) you have to hand in your DNA for inclusion in the criminals database. So far so good. It increases the database and because of that also the random match in the database chance. Include innocent individuals as well and things are starting to get hairy.
- Combine the traces with the RFID patterns left when you take the train or bus or your travelpatterns on all the camera’s noting everyone going in or out any city or highway.
- I want to roam free. But this is only the government. Who always have a larger need for currency. What if we could sell all this information as a second source of income?
- The DNA database can, and utimately will, be used for finding out your life expectency and vulnerability for certain diseases thus increasing your insurance premium.
- Albert Heyn (a supermarket, like Sainsbury) and Agis (an insurance company) started a cooperation last year where AH sells Agis insurance and you get a ‘health food packaged’ for free. Hey, if AH and Agis now combine their sales information it becomes obvious that they can adjust their sales to these individuals who aren’t likely to die soon because of their food-sales pattern. Now AH can boost their sales if they can tell you that your health-pattern and DNA are not good for you and you should buy such and such stuff.
- Ok, I know I’m paranoid.
Maybe I’m being silly on the sunny day, but somewhere I have this nagging feeling that we’re progressing quite rapidly in the area of Demolition Man where society is totally controlled. But I want to roam free, without the government or an insurance company or whoever that I can’t eat a ratburger. So, to end this posting, I’ll quote Edgar Friendly:
You see, according to Cocteau’s plan I’m the enemy, ’cause I like to think; I like to read. I’m into freedom of speech and freedom of choice. I’m the kind of guy likes to sit in a greasy spoon and wonder – “Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecued ribs with the side order of gravy fries?” I WANT high cholesterol. I wanna eat bacon and butter and BUCKETS of cheese, okay? I want to smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in the non-smoking section. I want to run through the streets naked with green Jell-o all over my body reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly might feel the need to, okay, pal?