Friday, September 01, 2006

Boing Boing: Walt Disney World fingerprints visitors:

Disney is now fingerprinting visitors to Walt Disney World as part of its ticket-fraud prevention scheme. They're not being very transparent about it, either: there are no signs posted about the data collection or retention, and Disney's official line is that they're not collecting fingerprints, just mathematical representations of same.

But those mathematical representations are exactly what you need if you want to join up two fingerprint databases, like Disney's and the NSA's -- while the NSA may store photos of fingerprints, they work with hashes of them, using those mathematical representations to compare and sort prints. Saying that you only store the mathematical representations of a fingerprint is like saying that you only store the mathematical representations of a JPEG, not the actual paint, canvas and frame that it depicts. It's true, but it sure doesn't mean that you haven't captured something important.

Now that our national immune system has begun to attack us in a terrible anaphylactic spasm -- indiscriminate NSA wiretaps, meaningless TSA security theater, secret aviation rules and no-fly lists, "free speech zones," suspension of habeas corpus and all the rest -- it's absolutely irresponsible to gather this kind of information and leave it where the savage toddlers of the national security apparat might find it and wreak havoc with it.

11:24 AM