Intelligence: Differences That Matter

Archives

November 22,2008: The FBI is trying to get money to automate their analysis of DNA collected from actual and suspected terrorists. These samples are collected in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as from suspects encountered anywhere in the world. Currently, the JFAIDD (Joint Federal Antiterrorism Intelligence DNA Database) contains over 15,000 analyzed samples collected, for the most part, since September 11, 2001. Currently, manual  methods only permit analysis of about four samples a week. Automated equipment will allow over 200 samples to be analyzed a week. There are nearly 40,000 samples waiting for analysis, with nearly 500 urgently needed.

Other forms of biometric evidence has, in the last decade, provided a lot of useful evidence. The oldest biometric is your appearance, which is pretty unique. Next came fingerprints, which were first recognized as a biometric indicator four centuries ago, but did not become a feature of police work until 150 years ago. That was followed by blood types and a whole bunch of stuff you could only do with dead bodies.

But in the past few decades, there's been a lot more. DNA, automated facial recognition, iris patterns and many more. But all this has been accompanied by new technologies that have made it easier to collect, store and retrieve biometric data. That made it possible to use biometric data on the battlefield. Al Qaeda was defeated in Iraq partly because of a huge (several hundred thousand individuals) biometric (fingerprints and iris scan) database, collected during raids or after arrest by U.S. troops. This took anonymity away from many terrorists, and potential terrorists or terrorist supporters. Made it much easier to run down the bad guys later. DNA, obviously, was only a part of this evidence, and the most difficult to analyze.

The delay in funding the automated DNA analysis system is largely because other forms of biometric data was usually available. There are even more east-to-collect forms of biometrics coming into use. These new forms of evidence are using unique behaviors of people to identify them. The first one of these to get heavy use was typing patterns. Actually, this one was first discovered in the 19th century, when telegraph operators found they could recognize each other by the pattern each used when tapping the telegraph key. This was called an operators "chop", and was eventually applied to how people hit the keys on a typewriter, or computer keyboard. It was eventually found that everyone had a distinctive "chop" when using a computer keyboard, and software could be used to recognize individuals.

The availability of cheaper and higher resolution digital cameras made possible new biometric identifiers, like gait analysis (we each walk with a distinctive gait). This proved useful when using UAVs to look for elusive terrorists below. But it could also be used just as a surveillance tool. Of course you can deceive behavioral biometrics, but it isn't easy, and you're never sure that your change up has fooled the software.

 


Article Archive

Intelligence: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
$0
$2500

Don't Let Us Go Up In Smoke!

January, February and March are notoriously low ad revenue months online. And StrategyPage has not been spared. We need to raise $2500 in combined subscriptions and contributions to keep us moving forward.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close