These Iris scanners can now identify people from 40 feet away

It’s a high point for “Biometric technology” as in the latest advancement now. It is possible to record data about an individual’s physical attributes such as fingerprints or iris configurations, providing more accuracy to security and law enforcement services.

The latest breakthrough in this field is the scanning of irises from a distance of up to 40 feet (12 meters) away.

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in the US demonstrated how they used iris recognition technology to identify drivers from a random image of their eye captured from their vehicle’s side mirror.

The champions of this new technology believe that it will be good for security as well as identifying individuals, with the use of measuring physiological characteristics that leave out security tokens or complex passwords. However, such sensitive technology comes with some challenges, including legal and public reaction issues regarding data capture, store, and access.

Iris is a flat, colored, ring-shaped membrane behind the cornea of the eye, with an adjustable circular opening (pupil) in the center.

Social conflict

The research in the field of Biometrics showed that in potential scenarios despite long-range identification facility, there is a lot of reluctance regarding this technology as people tend to feel insecure with their irises being monitored from 40 feet.

Another factor causing friction was “function creep”, wherein people are made to get accustomed to such novel security technologies slowly and gradually. The public will get a feel bit by bit.

For example: Implementing biometric identification in smartphones and laptops, cars and other daily use objects will decrease resistance and make people adaptable and normal.

Such ease of use could bring forth more intrusive long-distance recognition systems. This could eventually produce more extensive commercial and governmental usage of biometric identification than we think. Especially in crowded areas of a shopping mall, or a wedding procession or just on a street protest people can be easily identified using this advancement without their knowledge.

Biometric system implementation is not just user dependent but iris-scanning technology has to pass through EU test also after complying with major data protection and privacy checks.

The EU has a vigorous legal framework on privacy and data protection, known as fundamental rights. Biometric data, such as iris scans, are specially treated cases due to their sensitive nature and psychological and social factors involved.

Before adopting the iris technology certain legal considerations have to be met. Under EU law and the European Convention on Human Rights, authorities will have to be shown demonstration to convince them about its need and to prove that iris recognition was the least disturbing solution. A proportionality test is also required to balance out threats and opportunities for a final nod.

The fact that Long-range iris scanners can capture data without the subject’s consent also calls for legal investigation as EU is a legislative body and requires public knowledge regarding this issue as their basic rights. Another issue is data security mostly in case of smartphones scans stored on them will require top-notch security. Data stored on the cloud is likely to move around between different servers and countries, which makes preventing illegal access more difficult.

One restriction is also that this technology is not foolproof and accuracy is also the EU principle of data protection law this is a safety procedure which is a must in the advent of technology like this.

Watch the live demo of how this scanner identifies people from a long distance:

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