Brazil creates a biometric database of its citizens

Yes, the topic is as controversial as it sounds. I also found it hard to believe. Also fasten your seat belts and I invite you to read.

Biometrics? What is that?

If you rely on what is reported by wikipedia, biometry is:

[…] Biometry is also a technique for measuring living beings. In the latest applications it is focused on methods of automatic recognition of people based on their physical characteristics. An example of biometric measurement devices that can be used to identify individuals is the iris recognition system that records the image of the iris.

     Biometric methods examine physical characteristics (e.g. iris, retina (bottom of the eye), fingerprints, blood vessel system on the hand or wrist, hand shape, shape of the bend of the palm, ear shape, face, temperature distribution on the face, shape and distribution of teeth , smell, DNA, etc.), as well as behavioral traits, i.e. behavioral (e.g. walking, handwritten signature, but also by typing on the computer keyboard, voice, and you can even type the brain’s response here, wave P300, some known information-stimuli) […]

Recently more and more often we meet with it even in smartphones, which are increasingly equipped with fingerprint readers that facilitate unlocking the phone.

Fig. 1 Samsung Galaxy J7 with fingerprint reader

However, the very topic of building a database of national citizens in itself is extremely controversial. It’s about the uncomfortable feeling of strong surveillance. In addition, there is the topic of potential theft or data leakage. While data such as First and Last Name or even date of birth are rather common (people share them, e.g. on Facebook), data such as fingerprint scans are already very sensitive data.

And the more data stored over 200 million citizens in one place, the greater the “losses” in the event of a potential leak. Let’s be honest – just knowing the name, surname and SSN number allows you to conclude contracts on someone’s behalf or take loans with payday loans. But apparently Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has a different opinion and signed a regulation to build such a database (source: techspot.com).

Moreover, not so long ago a database of 92 million citizens leaked in Brazil, which was put up for auction in the so-called darkweb.

According to the planned project, at the beginning this database should contain general information such as name, surname, date of birth, address and insurance number. However, at a later stage, the base will be expanded with additional items, such as fingerprints, face scans, iris scans, voice samples and even movement patterns (!).

Ultimately, “as many officials as possible” will have access to the database. It is known that the more places where the database will be available, the easier it is for data to leak. Most often, it is enough for only one computer with an access to such a database to be infected, for it to leak.

Yes, such a name will significantly reduce the time needed to complete formalities, but is it really worth it?

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