Biometrics Data Is Vulnerable, Warn Experts

Encryption standards and data-access rules needed

3 min read

18 August 2009—Industry forecasters say the market for biometric data-collection systems will double or triple in size over the next five years. The technology, which analyzes such markers as fingerprints, voice prints, face shape, palm and finger veins, and irises, is used in applications as varied as passports and Disneyland passes. But storing the data on both government and privately owned computers poses an increasing threat to individual privacy and opens up new frontiers in identity theft, say security experts.

Privacy advocates are growing concerned about biometric "function creep": A company that scans your iris for an ID badge, they say, might also allow government or commercial entities to run this biometric data against their own databases—whether for legitimate or questionable purposes—without your consent. This is why encryption of biometric data is needed, argue Canadian and European biometric experts.

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Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
An illustration of a series
Carl De Torres

When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

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