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.

Beautiful Wall Decor Wedding Gifts

When you are looking for the perfect wedding gift, you want a present that will be cherished, used and remembered forever. A wedding gift that can hang on the wall is an ideal gift in all three respects. Choosing a wall décor wedding gift can be tricky, though, unless you take the couple’s personal tastes and sense of design into account when choosing. Here are some helpful hints to make sure that you select a beautiful wall décor wedding gift that will be truly appreciated and loved.

Consider the Style of the Bride and Groom’s Home

When choosing wall décor it is important to remember that this gift is meant to be on display in the bride and groom’s new home. Take stock of the design choices that the couple has made in their personal living spaces and avoid choosing a kitschy wall item if the bride has built her living room around clean, modern Danish lines. Instead, pick a simple design such as a stretched canvas printed with their initials or names in muted colors. For a contemporary living or family room design, consider choosing a wall print or canvas with a sleek, black frame and a colorful, personalized print. If the couple’s taste runs more to the curves of Art Deco, consider opting for a framed design inspired by the elongated curves and almost-abstract art of the Roaring Twenties.

In general, traditional and country styles will be complemented best by personalized prints and art canvases framed in warm or light wood. More modern designs look best with unadorned black or metal frames, or with unframed canvases. Country samplers are ideal for Colonial style living rooms and dens, especially if the print includes calico or adorable animals.

Consider the Personal Taste of the Bride and Groom

If there is a particular motif that is near and dear to the hearts of the bride and groom, you stand a pretty good chance of choosing a gift that they will love if you keep their personal preferences in mind while shopping. Try choosing prints or plaques in their favorite colors and materials, or printed with motifs that hold personal meaning to them. Don’t offer them a floral wall plaque if their tastes run to minimalist modern paintings, and avoid choosing an abstract wall print if they have a country themed kitchen adorned with cute teddy bears. Consider, too, that there are many more kinds of wall decor than just framed prints. Some of the other wall décor wedding gifts that you might consider are wall plaques made of metal, wood or molded resin, and wood plaques carved with the word “love” and the couple’s wedding details, both of which can easily fit into many different décor styles.

Hand painted slate tiles can also be an ideal choice for a rustic or Colonial kitchen, den or family room, and you can even choose one that is painted with traditional wedding icons or ones with more natural scenes.

Another popular wall décor is a stretched art canvas. It is easy to find stunning stretched art canvas designs that make beautiful wedding gifts. Whether you choose a painted Impressionist scene with a pair of love-bird swans or a country rustic saying bordered in twigs and flowers, there are many lovely canvases that can be personalized to make your gift even more extraordinary.

To really stand out, you can always go with a personalized pewter or copper tray wedding present, engraved with the wedding date and names, or a 3-D resin plaque or clock engraved with the wedding couple’s special day details.

Photo Frames

Photo frames are personalized gifts that are always appreciated. When choosing a photo frame, try to keep in mind the general rules of wall décor, choose photo frames and mats that fit with the general décor of the home and do not be afraid to be whimsical or personal. A classic black glass frame is a perfect accent for a modern or contemporary living room, especially when you add the personal touch of a special engraved message. Silver filigree frames are ideal for wedding photos, and wood frames can fit into any style of décor.

If wall hangings seem a bit personal, you might consider a hanging for the outside of their home. A “welcome” slate or plaque personalized with the couple’s married name can make a wonderful gift for the newly married pair.

Whatever gift you choose, personalization is a key part in ensuring that your wedding gift will be special and heartfelt. Think carefully about exactly what to print in the two or three lines you are given. A favored choice is the couple’s names and wedding details, but you might opt to use a personally applicable quote or wedding wish instead. Whichever personalized present you go with, it is sure to be loved and appreciated for years to come.

How Loud Does a Working Environment Have to Be to Require Ear Defenders?

Those who work in a noisy environment can often find that they are subject to more that the simple rigours of working life. People who find themselves subjected to loud working conditions can often fall victim to hearing conditions, in both the short and the long term. To combat this, many regulations exist designed to encourage the use of hearing protection in such conditions. But attempting to figure out the volume limits is tough, and it can be hard to tell when a workplace moves beyond simply loud into the realm of too loud.

Whilst we often subject ourselves to loud noises for pleasure, during sporting events and rock concerts, finding yourself in a loud working environment can be a little different. As you will likely be spending a large portion of your working life in the same conditions, the measures taken to prevent hearing damage should be strenuous. The most common solution for those who find themselves subject to such conditions is to wear ear defenders. Worn over the outer ear, these devices are available in a number of colours and designs. Should they be required in the work place, your employer should be able to equip you with the right protection.

While many companies are aware of the high volume of the environment and will require you to wear protection, it might simply be a recommended practice in others. To determine whether the protection is necessary, ask yourself several questions:

Does the noise seem intrusive?

Do you need to raise your voice to talk to another person?

Are you part of an industry which is known for loud working conditions, such as construction or manufacturing?

If the answer to the above questions is yes, then it is likely that further steps may need to be taken. From a quantifiable standpoint, the volume levels are often measured and provisions are taken according to decibel measurements. At 80dB, employers are required to provide training and instruction on how to reduce risk, and need to make protective measures available. Those workplaces which are frequently subject to 85dB are expected to take measures to reduce exposure to loud noises and if the measures are unable to have an effect, then hearing protection is required. Any environment above 87dB is considered something to which an employee should not be exposed, taking into account protective measures.

If you find yourself at risk of hearing damage or are beginning to experience difficulty, it is recommended that you talk to your employer in order to reduce the exposure to loud working conditions.

Wireless Computer Headsets For Your Convenience

The present era is the age of wireless gadgets. The days of wired gadgets are now passé. The same can be said about wireless computer headsets. When headsets for computers were first introduced, they were of the wired variety. Notwithstanding their popularity, many users would complain that the wires got in the way of doing routine tasks and would reduce their mobility and freedom. With the advancement in technology, folks have now become used to wireless computer headsets. You can use wireless headsets to listen to your favorite music or watch a favorite video from your couch or seat without the wires getting in between you and your favorite activity.

Wireless computer headsets are now a common option available to people, unlike the past. At that time, wireless computer headsets were something of a rarity and were quite expensive as well. This made wired headsets the only option available. Things changed however, when wireless headsets were introduced. This has brought down the price of wired headsets to a considerable extent and many people have already taken the advantage of their low price and easy availability.

The additional benefit of using a wireless PC headset is flexibility. With these gadgets, it is not necessary for you to be in front of your PC. You can be away from it and still use it or chat to people in a crystal clear manner. Some of the best of these wireless gadgets will help you even filter out unwanted noise as well.

If you have been using the more traditional wired headsets before, then you would like to know if purchasing a wireless gadget would be worth it. Going by the price and the voice fidelity, these gadgets have come up to the expectations and perform as good as their wired cousins. When wireless headsets for computers were first introduced, the signal would easily get disturbed because of interference. But with the improvement in technology, there has been a positive development in the quality of sound produced by the wireless equivalents, so they can easily transmit and receive data with the computer.

The life span of these gadgets is also comparable to their wired equivalent and if used properly, wireless computer headsets have a long life as well. The only precaution you need to follow is that you should not drop these gadgets frequently or else the wireless circuits could get damaged permanently. Finding these gadgets should not be a problem since you can easily locate that at your favorite electronics store. You can even search for these on the Internet at really affordable prices.