Biometric data vs. human rights

According to the Bible, God created man and woman to exercise their free will. However, that free will is currently threatened by Artificial Intelligence. The arbitrary collection of biometric data by states for security purposes can also be used in a repressive manner.

Biometric data

Very similar to Orwell’s Big Brother

As in George Orwell’s novel, “1984”, where the State exercised totalitarian control. Not only of people, but also of ideas. Orwell’s Big Brother, all-knowing and all-seeing. When we analyze Orwell’s dystopian world, we may find similarities with the present of humanity.

In the Middle East, the use of technology that forces citizens to hand over their biometric data is increasingly present. Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates force their inhabitants to hand over their biometric data in order to have access to public services provided by the State. Yemen and Iraq collect biometric data for their electoral rolls.

It is true that this provides people with greater security. Although, along with the surveillance cameras scattered in the cities, this data can be used in “another” way. In this way, the state has full knowledge of what a person does during the day. Where he went, who he met with, what places he visited, among other things.

The registration of biometric data.

The resemblance of this technology to Orwell’s novel is disturbing. So much so that it aroused alarm in the various Human Rights organizations. We know that fingerprint identification has been used since the 19th century. Likewise, DNA has been used since the 1980s.

However, biometric data are somewhat more sensitive, touching on the privacy of individuals. This information is now very broad, including iris scans, the shape of the earlobes, and even the way a person walks or moves.

Iris scanning in biomedical data collection.

An example of data scanning is when we use our fingerprint to unlock our cell phone. But in that same way, any state can employ remote biometric identification to collect data on a person and compare it with huge data banks they have on file.

In the last five years, the potential of pattern recognition software on people has grown exponentially. Nowadays, having a file with large amounts of data on every single citizen is cheaper and possible.

The European Union is currently analyzing and debating what may be the first legislation on Artificial Intelligence. One of the most sensitive points is the use of biometric data by the States. In other countries, such as the United States, Amnesty International called for the prohibition of the use of facial recognition systems immediately, as well as remote biometric identification.

The world is changing and many countries with authoritarian regimes may use these technologies to persecute their opponents. Will the world of the future be as Orwell imagined it?

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