Homeland Security Wants To Look Deep Into Your Eyes… To Scan Them For Their Records

Screw fingerprints. That’s so 2009. That’s the attitude the Homeland Security Dept. is taking in Mexico, where it will be testing out a new iris-scanning technology that it claims is faster than old-fashioned fingerprinting.

For two weeks in October, Homeland Security will be running tests on the scanners, which store digital images of your irises in a database, at a Border Patrol station in McAllen, TX.

In addition to being faster than fingerprints, the device allows for people to be scanned from 3-4 feet away. Homeland Security will also be testing a camera that scans people as they walk past the camera.

“The test will help us determine how viable this is for potential (department) use in the future,” a rep for the Dept. explained.

The ACLU isn’t exactly thrilled about the idea of using these scanners:

If you can identify any individual at a distance and without their knowledge, you literally allow the physical tracking of a person anywhere there’s a camera and access to the Internet.

A previous generation of iris scanners was used from 2005 to 2008 in about 20 U.S. airports to identify passengers in the Registered Traveler program, who could skip to the front of security lines.

Homeland Security to test iris scanners [USA Today]


Edit Your Comment

  1. FatLynn says:

    What if I get Lasik?

    • Liam Kinkaid says:

      I think Lasik just sculpts your cornea, it doesn’t change your iris pattern. BTW, I love my Lasik. If you’re eligible for the procedure, go for it!

      • digital0verdose says:

        I once saw this documentary called Minority Report. Getting new eyes is a lot harder than you think. Also, there was something about little spider bots that can find you or something. I stopped paying attention.

    • caradrake says:

      What if I buy new eyes on the black market?

      • aaron8301 says:

        You only need to do that to avoid prosecution for a crime that they thought you were going to commit in the future, but didn’t.

    • Emperor Norton I says:

      If I understand how these these work, any changes to your lens won’t affect this.
      But know how incompetent DHS is, my guess is that this just won’t work as planned.

      • Difdi says:

        Yeah…makes me wonder if they have Osama bin Laden’s retina on file…wouldn’t it be hilarious if they got the files mixed up, and busted some little 6 year old kid for terrorism on that basis?

    • Employees Must Wash Hands says:

      I used to participate in the NEXUS program, which let me cross between the US/Canada border with an iris scan (no talking to customs agents, just walk up to a kiosk, get a receipt, and hand it to the gentleman at the end of the customs hall along with my declaration form).

      I had LASIK done and had no problem afterwards, the system still recognized me just the same.

  2. Trish1981 says:

    I can definitely see how this is technology with the potential for abuse. But you have to take into account that just because they can scan you from a distance, that doesn’t give them access to your name, address, social security number, etc. All they can do is match you up with other scans. So unless they start making it a requirement that you get scanned and register your personal information so they can track you, there’s not much of a privacy issue in my opinion…yet.

  3. Phil James says:

    what if i dont want to give my syncording??

  4. jaya9581 says:

    If it’s voluntary, great, go for it. Otherwise, stay away from my eyes. AND my fingers.

  5. c!tizen says:

    Full body scanners to get on a plane, iris scans to cross the boarder… why does homeland security want all of these pictures of my insides?

  6. Dallas_shopper says:

    I don’t want them scanning my irises OR my fingerprints. The Western world is becoming an Orwellian nightmare.

  7. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    I want them to take my picture and all my biometric data and then tie it to thousands of others. This seems fair.

    (basically all this would take is a poorly formed UPDATE statement) I trust the government to be poorly worded!

  8. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Just be sure you can obtain your Minority Report.

  9. Genesisco Kid says:

    … for an interesting (and not too far-fetched) take on future (“mainstream” and commercial/consumer applications) of retina scans, watch or recall the movie “Minority Report”.

    There is one scene where the main character is walking through a mall, ducks into a “Gap” store, and is bombarded with purchase suggestions based on their buying history (or at least the buying history of the previous “owner” of the eyes the main character then has). Many other retina scan scenarios appear throughout the movie.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      That’s what my comment above was alluding to. It immediately came to mind when the article said this could be done several feet away, which is about how it’s done in the movie.

  10. HighontheHill says:

    Scan-blocking contacts.

  11. RickinStHelen says:

    It’s all part of the plan to make the folks at Homeland Security seem friendlier. First they look deep into your eyes, then they seductively say “business or pleasure.” If you say pleasure, you get a rose, business, you get a DHS pen. Say “None of your business,” and you get an up close inspection, that in the spirit of intimacy, now comes with a reach around.

  12. frank1569 says:

    The next natural step: it will be illegal to wear sunglasses and hats in airports just like it’s already illegal to wear masks in public in most major cities, except on Halloween (seriously.)

    Of course, we Americans are so pacified we’d let ‘homeland security’ shove RFID chips up our butts if they wanted to, so…

    • mowz says:

      Eh? It’s illegal to wear masks in most major cities? RLY?! I thought I had a right to freely express myself, so long as I’m not harming/offending others, by wearing my Pedobear costume.

  13. uber_mensch says:

    The will have to pry my eyes open with robotic spiders.

  14. PanCake BuTT says:

    I will not give you access to the windows of my SOUL !

  15. synergy says:

    I wonder if they’d get the same reaction trying this out in NYC or Windsor. Why McAllen?

  16. spamtasticus says:

    Don’t forget Kiddies. Biometric data is non revocable. So if that corrupt border patrol guard sells your biometric ID then you are screwed for the rest of your lives with absolutely no way to undo it.

  17. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    Maybe I’ve just worked on too many big contracts for the government but I can’t help to wonder how much money is going to be awarded to the company that implements this and how many former government employees work there.

  18. balthisar says:

    Interesting, the city of Leon (one of the “safe” ones in Mexico) is going to start installing city-wide iris scanners, including letting private merchants have them (from what I understand).


  19. Levk says:

    Yea all this extra security has really not done anything yet… It gives a false sense of security at best and really is garbage.

  20. Johnny Longtorso says:

    It won’t be long before border stations install Voight-Kampff machines to keep terrorist Replicants out of our country.

  21. u1itn0w2day says:

    Ironic that this developement comes out a few days after 9-11. Guess that evil world order got what they wanted. And the sheeple will not complain.