Biometrics Shifting from Defensive to Offensive Uses in Iraq
America’s recently-passed 2007 supplemental defense funding bill (#2) included $320 million for an unusual weapon: biometrics. Fingerprinting, iris scanning, certain approaches to automated facial recognition, DNA, and more are all part of biometrics, which seeks to identify humans based on unique physical characteristics.
Back in May 2005, “Biometric Access Card Project Underway for Iraq” shed light on biometrics’ increase use for defensive purposes; funding for those kinds of projects has continued, including research into fast, high-volume technologies and systems for National Guard units. What’s changing is the use of biometrics for offensive purposes as an integral tool in military operations, as opposed to just a defensive system for military installations. This requires a lot more interoperability and software bridging between systems, of course, in order to work. WIRED’s Danger Room e-zine covers the shift within Iraq, from operations in Baqubah to end-runs around the bureaucracy in order to get necessary equipment to warfighters. Read “Baqubah’s Biometric Squeeze” for more links and info… and see also these front-line reports:
- US Army (Jan 6/10) – BATS Speed Data-gathering Process
- US DoD DefenseLINK (Aug 15/07) – Officer Hails “Tremendous Success” of Iraqi Automated ID System
- USMC (July 28/07) – BAT system helps 3/1 catch bad guys
- USMC (July 28/07) – High-tech ID system sniffs out hidden threats