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Biometrics Essay

1190 words - 5 pages

There’s a scene in “Minority Report” where Tom Cruise gets retina transplants so he can sneak by security scanners all over the city of the future.

That city of the future has already arrived in New York — but it’ll take a whole lot more than a new pair of peepers to trick this setup.

An Israeli general is at work on a “biometric security” system that he believes will have New Yorkers tossing out their keys and maybe ditching their doormen, too.

Using sophisticated scanners that can recognize a person’s face, voice, build and stride, the system can unlock your door in under two seconds. Any strangers not in the database will be denied access.
“This is only the beginning,” says ...view middle of the document...

Commercial installations are more common. For example, Citibank has been experimenting with biometric recognition to reduce the number of security guards at some branches.

McCrie also points to the iPhone’s new thumb pads as a sign people are comfortable, even cool, with biometrics.

“Thumb scanners used to freak people out, because they thought they were having their fingerprints taken,” McCrie says. “Now it’s the cutting edge because Apple’s doing it.”

Farkash points out that his system doesn’t try to find bad guys and flag them, but rather identifies the good guys and lets them pass through busy lobbies or secluded household doorways.
Users basically make a few turns in front of a special camera, which captures their face, voice and movement. Those details then get stored in a database.

Have a guest coming over? No problem. Just enter them into the system, which sends them a special QR code (those new square bar codes). They simply hold a smartphone to the FST21 reader and the door unlocks.

Farkash says he was inspired to create his company after retiring from the head of Israel’s Directorate of Military Intelligence, basically the country’s NSA, in 2006. He had held the job since 2001, and his tenure coincided with the Second Intifada, when thousands of Palestinians and Israelis died in street fights, riots, suicide bombings and military engagements.

Farkash believes the rise of terrorism, personal technology and growing urbanization will converge to make systems like his a necessity of modern life.

Brian Fishler, sales manager for FST21, demonstrates a new biometric system at Knickerbocker Village.
Brian Fishler, sales manager for FST21, demonstrates a new biometric system at Knickerbocker Village.
“Cities are crowded, often dangerous places, with the gap between rich and poor growing,” Farkash says. “We need a way to live safely but also comfortably next door to one another.”

For those worried about privacy as well as security, Farkash stresses that the system is self-contained, so it is impossible to hack from outside. It also stores no data of users coming and going beyond two weeks.

“I was the Israeli NSA, so I can tell you I know privacy, and the best effort is being made to keep things private,” Farkash says.

Beyond safety, the system’s selling point is its simplicity.

“You have to find a way to have security...

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