Privacy Issues Surrounding Biometric Technology

The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center have provoked in-depth discussion and study of existing security measures, their deficiencies, and how to enhance security to prevent similar terrorist attacks from occurring in the future. Biometric technology has risen to the top of the list as a possible solution. The government is not the only entity exploring biometric security systems. The financial services industry see biometrics as a way to curb identity theft. Biometrics are intrinsic physical characteristics used to identify individuals. The most commonly used biometric is fingerprints but others include, handprints, facial features, iris & retinal scans, and voice recognition.

Soon after 9/11 there were calls for the issuance of national ID cards containing biometric information on an RFID chip implanted on the card. The argument is that national ID cards will increase security by identifying individuals with their unique fingerprints which are much more difficult to counterfeit than standard photo ID cards. There is also a movement toward biometric passports. It looks like biometric passports are coming soon. National ID cards may follow.

Biometric identification is nothing new. Humans have been identifying other humans biometrically since the beginning of time. You recognize people you know by their facial features, their voice, and other biometric features. What’s new is introducing technology into the mix that compares a given biometric with a stored database of biometrics to verify the identity of an individual. An individual place their finger on a fingerprint scanner and the image is compared with the database to verify the person’s identity. Promising as it is, biometric technology has not been without hiccups but biometrics are advancing quickly and becoming more and more prevalent in security systems.

Fingerprints are the most commonly used biometric identifiers. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) conducted a study that showed single fingerprint biometric systems had a 98.6 percent accuracy rate. The accuracy rate rose to 99.6 percent when 2 fingerprints were used and an almost perfect 99.9 percent when 4 or more fingerprints were used. The study results show that biometric identification is nearly perfect which is not surprising given the uniqueness of human fingerprints.

The US-VISIT program, which is an acronym for United States Visitor & Immigrant Status Indicator Technology, currently requires foreign visitors to the US to present a biometric passport containing 2 fingerprints and a digital photo for identification purposes before being granted admission to the U.S. Of course the biometrics are compared against a vast network of government databases full of known and suspected terrorists and other criminals.

On the surface biometric technology may sound like a panacea but it’s use has raised significant privacy concerns that need to be addressed. Here are six major privacy concerns: storage, vulnerability, confidence, authenticity, linking, and ubiquity.

Critics wonder how the data will be stored and how vulnerable it will be to theft or abuse. Confidence issues center around the implications of false positives and false negatives. Can the biometric data be used to link to other information about the individual such as marital status, religion, employment status, etc.? And finally ubiquity. What are the implications of leaving electronic “bread crumbs” to mark a trail detailing every movement an individual makes?

Until these issues are addressed, privacy advocates will lead a charge to resist biometric technology claiming it as a way for the government to assume a “Big Brother” type of rule as described in George Orwell’s novel 1984. But protest as they may, it’s likely national security concerns and the ability of biometric systems to enhance the security of US border and possibly prevent another major terrorist attack will win out over privacy concerns.

How to Find Affordable Automobile Insurance in Arizona

Finding affordable automobile insurance for your Arizona vehicle may not be a difficult as you think. Shop around on the Internet for alternative quotes from various companies.

There are discounts and savings that you may not be aware of as follows:

1. Multi-Line Discount: Insurance companies offer discounts to policyholders that have more than one line of insurance coverage with them. Seek insurance quotes from the insurance company that is currently writing your homeowner or renter’s insurance policy. Be sure to make them aware that you have other lines of coverage placed with them, especially if you’re seeking quotes over the internet.

2. Non-smokers: Non-smokers are a more favorable risk to insurance companies than non-smokers. Now would be a good time to kick the habit for both your health and your pocket.

3. Vehicle Safety Features: Newer vehicles come equipped with airbags and automatic seatbelts. These features and others like anti lock brakes will server to lower your auto premiums.

4. Higher Deductibles: How much can you afford to pay out of pocket in the event of a collision or comprehensive loss? If you can afford to pay the first $500 or even $1,000, you will earn a premium discount for the higher deductible. Get alternative quotes with various deductibles. Make sure the premium savings is worth the extra out of pocket expense. Remember, the deductible applies to each loss, not just the first one.

5. Accident Free: How is your driving record? If you have a clean driving record without accident or points, ask your insurance company for a clean driver discount. Companies may call it by different names, but make sure you specifically ask the question how much is my clean driving record saving me?

6. Multiple Auto: Insuring two vehicles with one insurance company is cheaper than two separate policies. If you have more than one vehicle, it only makes sense to cover them under the same policy.

Why Do We Need Personal Development to Be Successful?

In order to really answer that, we need to define what we mean by personal development. In my opinion, personal development is:

  • Growth as a conscious human being
  • Activities that improve self-knowledge and identity
  • Development of talents and potential
  • Development in different areas of life
  • Building of human capital and employability
  • Enhancing the quality of life
  • Contributing to the realization of dreams and aspirations
  • Is not limited to self-development but includes formal and informal activities for developing others
  • In the context of institutions, it reflects to the methods, programs, tools, techniques, and assessment systems that support human development at the individual level in organizations
  • (hard) work that requires discipline, determination, consistency, patience, time, courage, forgiveness

Let's then take a closer look at some of these bullet points in correlation to success.

Improving your self-knowledge and identity means, among other things, that you become more aware of who you are and what you want. Knowing what you want and where you need to improve yourself in order to achieve what you want are essential parts of success.

If you have already achieved success you can not stay put if you want to remain successful. The world and other people around you are constantly evolving; therefore you need to keep on developing your talents and potential further. Otherwise your success will remain short term.

Depending on your goals, you need constant development in different areas of your life, not just in one. Some of these areas may include health, finances, relationships, emotions, habits and beliefs, to mention a few. A good health will ensure that you are able to do what you want to do. It is obvious that you can do a lot more as a healthy person than you would lying sick on a bed. It is obvious, in most cases, that you can achieve more and free yourself from some of the worries when your financial situation is stable. It is obvious that you can achieve more when you have sound relationships with supporting and loving people to back you up. And so on.

Having activities for developing others, in addition to developing yourself, is really what gives you the final boost for success. The old saying "what goes around, comes around" applies here quite well. Helping other people succeed will ensure that they will willingly help you in return. It is much, much more difficult – and in most cases even impossible – to achieve success just by yourself. You can not be the master of everything. And you should not even try to be. Concentrate on doing well what you love doing and let other people help you in the areas that they love doing. Help others develop themselves and they will help you develop yourself. That is for everyone's benefit.

Finally, understand that long lasting success requires work. At times, it can even seem to require hard work. But once you have found what it is that you really love doing, the work does not seem that hard anymore. But it will require discipline, so that you keep your focus on your goals. It will require determination because there will be a lot of people who'll try to talk you out of your dream. It will require consistency because you will encounter many obstacles along the way and you'll have to be consistent to work your way through and around them. It will require patience because the bigger your dream, the more it will take time. It will require courage because you will move toward something that is unknown to you. And, maybe most of all, it will require forgiveness because you will have to forgive yourself for all the mistakes you have made, and will make, and you must also forgive others who have hurt you, so you can move into the future with a clean slate.

And that is all part of the road to success.

Written by Hannu Pirila, CEO and Founder of HPA Consulting, one of the leading Personal Development and NLP Coaches in Finland.

There Are Famous Clocks in America, Too

When anyone mentions famous clocks, they probably think of Big Ben. This is most likely because the Clock Tower of Big Ben in London is the most recognized clock in the world. The clock tower was constructed in the 1830s, and the monument still retains the title of the World’s Largest 4-Faced Chiming Clock, even though it is no longer the largest clock in the world. You may not know it, but the United States has some landmark clocks, too.

The world’s largest four-faced clock is located in Milwaukee, WI. In fact, the clock faces of the Allen-Bradley clock are around twice the diameter of Big Ben. No chimes have been added to this clock so that Big Ben can keep the title of largest chiming clock. Each hour hand on this magnificent clock is 15.8 feet long and weighs 490 pounds while the minute hands are 20 feet long and weigh 530 pounds each. In addition, the numerals on the clock faces are 4 feet high.

Another large landmark timepiece is the Colgate Clock. At 40′ in diameter, it’s the largest single clock in North America. This clock is located at the Colgate-Palmolive plant which was the Indiana Reformatory for Men prior to being bought and renovated in 1923. Therefore, the Colgate Clock has been considered to be a major southern Indiana landmark for over seven decades.

The Loew’s Jersey movie palace has another architectural clock that is renowned in American history. The builders of the facility wanted to attract attention to their building. They decided that since it’s located in an area where thousands of shoppers and commuters were always rushing by that they could best attract attention by adding a clock designed by the famous clock maker, Seth Thomas. This gorgeous timepiece includes one of the few moving figure clocks that’s you can see on the east coast. The figures depicted St. George slaying the dragon, an accomplishment which was repeated every quarter hour accompanied by bells.

You need to visit Seattle in order to tour its famous Clock Walk. Free standing clocks with cast iron pedestals began to be erected as an advertising medium in the 1860s and ’70s. By the 1920s there were so many street clocks in Seattle that people began to refer to it as the “City of Clocks”. Although a number of the clocks have been removed in the past three decades, Seattle is still considered to have one of the most significant collections of street clocks in the country.

Buried in the small, central plains town of Spillville, IA, you will find the home of the Bily Brothers clocks. These two farmers whiled away the long winter hours starting back in 1913 by crafting some of the most unique floor clocks you can ever hope to see. Their first clock, produced in 1916, featured appearance of the 12 apostles every hour. The brothers were adamant about keeping their collection together. Even when Henry Ford offered a small fortune for one of their clocks, the Bily Brothers refused to sell. The entire collection was bequeathed to the small, nearby town of Spillville with the provision that the collection never be sold or separated.

If you really want to feel the scope of American clock making, you can visit the American Clock and Watch Museum in Bristol, CT. This museum houses over 1400 unique timepieces, most of which were made in the USA. The majority of the clocks are still running and chiming, so when the time comes around to 12 Noon, this is one of the louder sites you can visit.

As you can see, clock making is a favorite pastime of the American people as well as the British. By traveling throughout this great country of ours, you’ll be able to find numerous lovely timepieces that have become part of our heritage.