IMAGE: Imageflow — 123RF

Keep your eyes open

Singapore, the city-state run pretty much as a family business, is to record the iris scans of its citizens as part of a national identity registry that will include permanent residents. Citizenship of Singapore, given the privileges living there offers and its low tax rate, is considered an asset worth having, and the iris scans, along with fingerprinting and photographs, will be used as just another element in identifying people, as a way of improving security. The exercise will be carried out not just at identity card offices, but will also involve staff at post offices.

The United Arab Emirates has been using a similar iris scan system at its border controls. At present, the system is used at 16 entry points from land, air and sea, and processes the arrival of more than 6,500 travelers every day who are cross-checked with a database of 420,000 IrisCodes of people who have been expelled for a range of crimes and who tried to re-enter the country using false papers. The system is virtually fool proof.

In India, scans of both irises, along with ten fingerprints and a photograph are archived in Aadhaar, the national identity system.

Consideration and perception of technology as mature is increasingly clear, so that along with its lack of intrusiveness, its ease of use and balance between advantages and shortcomings, means that its use, without doubt, will increase.

From science fiction to everyday use, in a blink. So now you know, keep your eyes open. An iris scanner is looking at you.

(En español, aquí)