Comparitech warns, "these 5 countries show a concerning lack of regard for the privacy of people’s biometric data." That’s right, the former "land of the free"
has become the land of the surveilled and tracked.
How can that be you ask?
According to Comparitech, the United States scores highly in most areas due to:
- Having biometrics in passports, ID cards, and bank accounts.
- Having a biometric voting system (optical scan equipment used in a large number of states).
- Not having a specific law to protect citizens’ biometrics. While there is a handful of state laws that protect state residents’ biometrics (as can be seen in our state privacy study), this does leave many US citizens’ biometrics exposed as there is no federal law in place.
- Implementing the widespread use of facial recognition cameras with law enforcement pushing for further use in the identification of criminals. For example, the FBI and ICE have recently been criticized due to their use of facial recognition technology to scan drivers’ license photos without gaining the citizens’ consent beforehand. Equally, some city-level bans have been put in place with San Francisco (CA), Oakland (CA), Berkeley (CA), and Somerville (MA) banning government use of facial recognition technology.
- The growing use of biometrics in the workplace. Many companies use employees’ biometrics for certain actions, e.g. using a fingerprint to gain access to a work computer. Again, some state laws offer a little more protection but this still leaves many employees’ biometrics exposed.
- Fingerprints being required for most American visas and everyone’s fingerprints being collected upon entry to the country.
Curiously, Comparitech failed to elaborate on DHS’s national Real-ID program
which forces everyone to provide biometric information to drive or fly in America
. If they had included Real-ID in their study it is my opinion that America would be 2nd only to China in abusing citizen’s biometric privacy.
As I mentioned earlier, the Western world has used 9/11 as an excuse to abuse citizen’s privacy rights and sadly, Canada is no exception.
What does this study teach us?
That countries like Canada and the United States, once bastion’s of a free society, are now near mirror-images of surveillance states, like China
, the Philippines
"As the spread of AI surveillance continues unabated. Its use by repressive regimes to engineer crackdowns against targeted populations has already sounded alarm bells."
And hopefully that is what you will take away from this story: our government increasingly uses biometrics and AI surveillance to track everyone.