Tracking recent research in biometrics

One research area that the OPC tracks is biometrics – using physical features and behaviours to automatically identify people. Although biometric technologies can be very useful for establishing identities, they can also raise important privacy concerns. Biometric technology is constantly changing and the ability of systems to accurately recognize people is increasing. OPC staff recently attended the International Conference on Biometrics: Theory, Applications and Systems (BTAS) held in Washington D.C. where they heard about the latest research results.

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Think before you spit

The decision whether to undergo genetic testing is often highly personal and is usually prompted by a serious medical concern such as a family history of an inherited disease. Traditionally, such testing has been done in a medical setting by health care professionals, including genetic counsellors, who explain the science and ethics behind testing and help patients interpret the results.

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Our Top Ten list of Privacy Act fixes

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The Privacy Act, the federal privacy law requiring federal government bodies to respect individual privacy rights, hasn’t been substantially updated since 1982 – the same year the Commodore 64 was released and we stopped calling July 1 Dominion Day. What’s interesting about these changes is they could be implemented immediately and relatively easily – and the benefit to Canadians would be a privacy law that is modern, responsive and efficient.

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Watching you watching TV

We know you didn’t watch the Oscars last weekend. Neither did we. And according to the latest figures from the Nielsen Company, neither did many viewers. Nielsen has been tracking the habits of TV viewers for decades now, and their research figures prominently in the business decisions made by television and advertising industry heads.

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Hands across the ocean

An article out of the UK this morning reports that the U.S. FBI is considering the development of an international database in collaboration with the U.K., Australia, New Zealand and Canada which could potentially make personal information – biometric data like iris, palm and finger prints – of its citizens instantly available to police forces in other partner countries. The U.S.-led program, called “Server in the Sky”, would aid forces in tracking down major criminals and suspected terrorists.

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