23 May 2008

Congress Wants Your Fingerprints

This is not a Second Amendment story, but it is a civil liberties piece nonetheless.

Buried in an act recently (and quickly) passed by a United States Senate committee almost without notice is a provision requiring anyone working in the mortgage or real estate industry to provide their fingerprints as part of a national database. It is totally unrelated to national security and is found deep within legislation regarding housing.

John Berlau at OpenMarket has the details.

I have always maintained that only criminals need be fingerprinted. Today, of course, to protect our children we fingerprint teachers and school volunteers; officers of the court (attorneys on up) are fingerprinted; our military are fingerprinted and DNA sampled, so that in the worst case situation, their remains can be identified. What used to be an intrusion into privacy and civil liberties is now considered . . . normal.

Even recently, people don't seem to think it is a big deal. Even Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has declared that fingerprints aren’t “personal data.” I disagree, but the powers that be are pushing this issue "for the children," and for our own good.

Will there ever be a limit to our agreement with continued privacy intrusions . . . for our own good? Is there a tipping point? A bubble?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't think this will really become an issue until biometric identification systems become more commonly used. They are currently used in some industries, but typically on a voluntary basis.

When you have to use a thumbprint reader to pay for your groceries...and after the first report of the compromise of the US fingerprint database, this will become a huge issue...however, by that time, it will be way too late to put the genie back into the bottle.

By the way, it's already too late for me. As a Military vet, with a clearance and CHP holder, amy fingerprints (as well as DNA sample) have been on file in multiple government locations for many years.