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.

Mobile Phone Accessories – Can You Easily Get What You’re After?

Today the mobile phone has become a necessity of modern life. In fact it has become so much a part of life that one can not imagine living without it. With the increased demand for mobile phones the need for appropriate accessories has also increased.

Types of mobile phone accessories

There are several kinds of mobile phone accessories. You can buy a wide range of mobile phone chargers, pouches, speakers, hands-free car kits, batteries, sim cards, screen protectors and memory cards, as well as many others. There are also a wide range of data cables available to ensure easier transfer of data for the discerning mobile phone user. You can also purchase a wide range of Bluetooth accessories such as Bluetooth headsets, hands-free Bluetooth car kits as well as other accessories.

Availability of accessories

For many users finding access to the right mobile phone accessories can mean having to browse many different websites to find the suitable kit. For example if you wish to buy a charger for a particular handset then you may not find it at every online mobile phone store. Most mobile chargers only work for a specific model or brand, so chances are you will need to buy the exact charger for your mobile phone. However, there are many online sites dealing in accessories which have a comprehensive selection and easy to use "product selectors" to help customers. You can buy everything from protective pouches to chargers or even Bluetooth accessories, all under one roof! Many sites will offer complementary accessories, especially if the mobile phone you've bought is a new or expensive model. Make sure you shop around to get the best deals!

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.

Sterling Silver Jewelry Exposed

Sterling silver jewelry is enjoying an unprecedented popularity with today's fashion conscious public. You know how beautiful sterling silver jewelry is and how brilliantly it shines. Now here is the rest of the story.

Silver has been used since ancient times, but has not survived as well as ancient gold because it tarnished and decomposes. There have been times, however, when silver was "in"; we are going through such a vogue today.

Silver is the most common of the precious metals. Fine silver is pure silver, which is used for jewelry because it is too soft. Sterling silver is 925 parts silver to 75 of copper, the alloy most often used. Silver weighs about half as much as gold, has greater flexibility, but is not as malleable, it has always been less expensive as well. A comparable piece of gold jewelry may cost four or five times that of a piece of sterling silver jewelry.

The current fashion trend toward black clothing has made silver jewelry more popular than ever. Silver likes to be worn; it stays cleaner & shinier through movement and friction. So sterling silver is a perfect accessory for today's fast paced lifestyles. Much like gold, sterling silver needs to be cleaned.

Care and Cleaning of your Sterling Silver Jewelry

1.) For daily cleaning it is recommended to use a simple jewelry polishing cloth that is impregnated with special jewelry cleaner. These are widely available and are very easy to use. Store your cloth in a plastic zip-lock bag, and keeping your jewelry drawer or armoire. It is a good idea to have one cleaning cloth for gold and one for silver.

2.) For a slightly more "in-depth" cleaning you may want to use a liquid jewelry cleaner.

3.) For cleaning badly tarnished silver, here's a neat little trick

a.) Cover the inside bottom of a heat-proof glass dish on bowl with a piece of aluminum foil, shiny side up.

b.) Place the tarnished silver in the bottom of the dish, contacting the aluminum foil.

c.) Add 1 heaping tablespoon of baking soda, and then slowly pour boiling water to cover the piece. The tarnish will gradually collect on the aluminum foil.

d.) Remove your silver, rinse thoroughly, and polish.

Here are Some Tips for Greater Enjoyment of your Sterling Silver Jewelry

1.) Are your silver chains all tied-up in knots? If so, here's a nifty little trick for straightening them out. Dust your chain with a little talcum powder and then try to unknot it. If the knot is stubborn, place a small drop of baby oil on a sheet of wax paper. Lay the knot in the oil and work it out with two pins; then clean the chain as instructed below.

2.) Always apply make-up, perfumes, oils or colognes before you put on your jewelry.

We hope you have enjoyed this special report. Please feel free to share it with your friends!