Biometric Database: It's About Power, Not Security
India’s biometric database has been hacked, according to Israel’s Kalkalist newspaper. Now, for eight dollars, anybody can buy the biometric details of one billion Indians.
If you would hear that your credit card password can be bought for eight dollars, you would immediately change your password. But it is much more complicated to change your fingerprint or iris.
The question is not if Israel’s biometric database will be hacked. It will be hacked. It is only a question of when. That is why, for example, those people whose privacy the State prefers to safeguard will not be included in the database.
But the real problem is not a criminal element that will infiltrate the State’s database. The real problem is the State, itself. The need to prevent the forgery of ID cards is not the real reason for the database. It is just the excuse. It is no problem to burn coded biological data on the ID card itself. We don’t need a database to prevent forgery.
The reason that the State insists on creating a database is that information is power. The State will always want more power at the expense of the citizen, more liberty for itself and less liberty for the citizen, more control for itself and less privacy for the citizen.
The basic agreement between the State and the citizen is that the citizen forgoes a bit of his power and liberty in exchange for personal and national security. The State, which always desires to add to its power, does so by claiming that it needs more power to protect the citizens. The State makes a database because a database is power – for the system. It makes a database simply because it can. And the excuse, as always, is security.
Almost no liberty states have a biometric database. A non-US-citizen entering the US is required to submit his biometric data. But they would not dare require that of their own citizens.
Zehut will erase Israel’s biometric database. Let us hope that will happen before it is hacked.