Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Biometrics: the mark of the beast?

The Wilmington, Carolina Star-News reports that "About a dozen employees of the City of Wilmington have filed religious protests against a new time-keeping system that uses finger measurements to track workers' hours." As one worker wrote:

"As my divine ... right, I request that you, my employer, accommodate my sincerely held religious belief by not requiring me to submit to the use of a thumbprint, DNA or any other biological identification device"

The article quotes David Alan Carmichael (who "successfully sued the Navy after it kicked him out for refusing to use a Social Security number," then established the American Christian Liberty Society) as saying that
the rise of biometrics is causing more people to think twice, especially with Revelation's reference to the hand and forehead suggesting hand and eye scans, he said. Those are stops on a slippery slope to imbedded computer identification chips, the ultimate mark

Wonder what he thinks about SecureID fobs?


Skeptical and secular folks like me, and I suspect Dave, often get a bit glib when we confront popular fears of technology based on Biblical interpretations. For a thought-provoking example of an alternative approach, check out Burt Kaliski's remarkable essay:

Thoughts on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology and Revelation’s “Mark of the Beast”

Kaliski, a serious Christian and a friend of mine, was for many years chief scientist at RSA, the firm that invented the SecurID one-time password token, as well as many of the cryptography-based privacy and security technologies in wide use today (including the RSA Blocker Tag, designed to constrain inappropriate use of RFID technology). RSA is now the security division of EMC Corp., where Burt works in the Office of the CIO.
Opps. Add "htm" or ".htm" to that url. The full url for Burt Kaliski's essay is:
Kaliski's essay is very interesting, cogent and directly on-point. Thanks for the reference.
Section 666 of the U.S. Welfare Code (42 USC §666) requires States to require all applicants for professional, occupational, recreational, drivers and marriage licenses, to identify with an SSN. The same Section 666 requires banks to require a SSN to open accounts. Try to do anything in the ordinary course of life and business without having to confess the SSN. There is a number of the beast mentioned in Revelation, as well as the mark of the beast and the name of the beast.
David Alan Carmichael
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