Apparently Wolfgang Schauble, Germany’s Interior Minister was keen to have everyone’s biometric data collected for all kinds of privacy destroying reasons. One wonders if he is still so enamored of biometrics after have his fingerprint lifted and printed in a magazine in a fashion that makes it fairly easy to impersonate him on today’s fingerprint readers (hat tip to Vikram Kumar). I suspect the hacktavists are already planning to acquire and publish the fingerprints of even more government officials.
Bruce Schneier has a great quote in the article:
“The thing I like a lot is the political activism of the hack,” said Bruce Schneier, who is chief security technology officer for BT and an expert on online authentication. Fingerprint readers were long ago shown to be faulty, largely because designers opt to make the devices err on the side of false positives rather than on the side of false negatives.
Few readers, he said, have ways to verify the input path to prevent spoofing, and yet politicians frequently see them as a panacea for all kinds of complicated security problems.
“This minister guy, what is he going to do now?” Schneier asked. “His fingerprint is going to be known for all time.”
This does bring up an interesting legal question. What is fair use of biometric data left in a public place? If it’s legal to photograph an individual in a public place, is it legal to lift their fingerprints as well? Is it legal to publish them?