Privacy Issues Surrounding Biometric Technology

The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center have provoked in-depth discussion and study of existing security measures, their deficiencies, and how to enhance security to prevent similar terrorist attacks from occurring in the future. Biometric technology has risen to the top of the list as a possible solution. The government is not the only entity exploring biometric security systems. The financial services industry see biometrics as a way to curb identity theft. Biometrics are intrinsic physical characteristics used to identify individuals. The most commonly used biometric is fingerprints but others include, handprints, facial features, iris & retinal scans, and voice recognition.

Soon after 9/11 there were calls for the issuance of national ID cards containing biometric information on an RFID chip implanted on the card. The argument is that national ID cards will increase security by identifying individuals with their unique fingerprints which are much more difficult to counterfeit than standard photo ID cards. There is also a movement toward biometric passports. It looks like biometric passports are coming soon. National ID cards may follow.

Biometric identification is nothing new. Humans have been identifying other humans biometrically since the beginning of time. You recognize people you know by their facial features, their voice, and other biometric features. What’s new is introducing technology into the mix that compares a given biometric with a stored database of biometrics to verify the identity of an individual. An individual place their finger on a fingerprint scanner and the image is compared with the database to verify the person’s identity. Promising as it is, biometric technology has not been without hiccups but biometrics are advancing quickly and becoming more and more prevalent in security systems.

Fingerprints are the most commonly used biometric identifiers. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) conducted a study that showed single fingerprint biometric systems had a 98.6 percent accuracy rate. The accuracy rate rose to 99.6 percent when 2 fingerprints were used and an almost perfect 99.9 percent when 4 or more fingerprints were used. The study results show that biometric identification is nearly perfect which is not surprising given the uniqueness of human fingerprints.

The US-VISIT program, which is an acronym for United States Visitor & Immigrant Status Indicator Technology, currently requires foreign visitors to the US to present a biometric passport containing 2 fingerprints and a digital photo for identification purposes before being granted admission to the U.S. Of course the biometrics are compared against a vast network of government databases full of known and suspected terrorists and other criminals.

On the surface biometric technology may sound like a panacea but it’s use has raised significant privacy concerns that need to be addressed. Here are six major privacy concerns: storage, vulnerability, confidence, authenticity, linking, and ubiquity.

Critics wonder how the data will be stored and how vulnerable it will be to theft or abuse. Confidence issues center around the implications of false positives and false negatives. Can the biometric data be used to link to other information about the individual such as marital status, religion, employment status, etc.? And finally ubiquity. What are the implications of leaving electronic “bread crumbs” to mark a trail detailing every movement an individual makes?

Until these issues are addressed, privacy advocates will lead a charge to resist biometric technology claiming it as a way for the government to assume a “Big Brother” type of rule as described in George Orwell’s novel 1984. But protest as they may, it’s likely national security concerns and the ability of biometric systems to enhance the security of US border and possibly prevent another major terrorist attack will win out over privacy concerns.

Online Driver’s Education

What Is the Purpose of Online Driver's Education?

Online driver's education imparts learning skills and fundamental concepts relating to driving test so as to prepare distance learners for a driver's license exam, irrespective of age-group. The driver's education imparted from the online mechanism is certainly a boon to all those who, without moving to the desired location can reap the benefits for learning the basics and concepts related to driving in order to obtain a valid driving license.

How is Online Driver's Education Beneficial to a Person?

Online driver's education programs are beneficial to online student in numerous ways. Some of them are:

1. Online driver's education programs are far more affordable and it typically takes a person to shell around $ 40 to get enrolled in an online driver's education program, which is definitely a bargain!

2. The learning methodology and virtual classroom environment is easy to understand and all assistance is provided to let students get familiarized with the concepts of online education and online learning tools.

3. The students can access their course contents from any of the preferred locations all over the world and can complete the online education program for driving skills without disturbing their other personal and / or professional commitments.

4. The students can fix their own time schedules and learning hours, which makes online driver's education convenient and flexible.

5. The virtual classroom lends an impersonal impression and a student is an independent learner in the long run, since it has little interface to offer between a student and trainers. It also offers less inter-linking and inter-personal interaction and interface between virtual class-fellows, which rewards off any chances of distractions.

6. A student can attend virtual classroom sessions, discussions groups, newsgroups, forums and numerous other interactive activities at his / her own discretion and it's up to a student to complete the pending online workbook assignment and get it checked and assessed by teacher via online learning management systems.

7. All that is needed in this online program is an internet connection and a flair for understanding and learning new and innovative concepts with the help of online learning tools and materials like audio / video / web conferencing, webinars, whiteboards, chats, forums, discussion groups, e-mails etc.

What Is the Selection Criteria for Online Driver's Education Program?

The online driver's education program is a student-centric and effective learning based program, which helps a student understand the fundamental concepts of driving so as to appear for the driving test and obtain a legal driving license. Distance learners must verify the accreditation of the online education program as well as the online driving school that they have applied at their own online driver's education. Since online training and distance learning education may have some important formalities on part of students before getting started, a student must verify all information and formalities relating to a selected course.

What is "Green Driver's Ed"?

Green Driver's Ed is an acronym for Green Driver's Education with a special emphasis on environment. This is a new notification being introduced within the driving school community which includes environmental consciousness as a fundamental part of conventional driver's education curriculum. It adds sense to a person in terms of community welfare and environmental awareness when compared with a traditional learning course for driving.

Family Vacation Ideas – Family Fun at the Grand Canyon

Are you looking for some family vacation ideas? Consider a trip to the Grand Canyon for your next family vacation. There are no words that fully describe it and pictures can not capture the incredible beauty of this 277-mile long, one-mile deep wonder. The Grand Canyon is located approximately two and a half hours north of Phoenix, in Northern Arizona. July is the warmest month for the Grand Canyon, but because of the higher elevation, the average highs are only 84 degrees, while the lows dip down to around 50. Compare this to Phoenix where the average high this time of year is 104 degrees.

There is lodging at the Grand Canyon, but space is limited and generally more expensive than nearby hotels. Williams, Arizona is about 30 miles south of the Grand Canyon, and is a great little town to stay in while exploring the area. It offers a wide range of accommodations and restaurants, beautiful Ponderosa pine trees, clear, crisp air, and a variety of outdoor activities.

The Grand Canyon Railway leaves from Williams and offers several classes of vintage train service to the Grand Canyon. This is a great way to get from Williams to the Grand Canyon, and journeying to the canyon by rail offers a fun and unique travel experience for your family. Along the way, enjoy 65 miles of Grand Canyon Country views and Old West entertainment.

The most popular tour of the Grand Canyon is by car and bus around the South Rim. It is open year-round and features easily accessible trails and outlooks. It also has shops, hotels, and several restaurants. In addition to viewing the stunning scenery, visitors can hike, camp, take mule rides, or go on a rafting trip. For those hiking to the canyon floor, be aware that temperatures in July and August can be substantially higher than those at the rim.

Whether you visit the South Rim, West Rim, North Rim, or some other part of the canyon, it will certainly be a memorable trip for your entire family. Even if you have seen hundreds of photos in the past, there is no way to really appreciate the beauty of this area until you actually visit it. The Grand Canyon is truly magnificent. Have a safe and wonderful trip!

Online Education More Attractive

All over the world, the numbers of people in school at the different levels takes pyramidal shape. There are huge numbers at the elementary, but as they progress, the numbers decrease, leaving just a few in higher education. In the United States, some 65 million students were expected to enroll from K to K12 in the fall of 2015. In the same period, it was expected that 20.2 million would be attending Colleges and Universities. It is estimated that 25% of fresh high school students in the U.S.A are not able to graduate. For fresh students who enter colleges or universities 1 out of 3 are likely not make it to second year. This dropout out rate hinders national development, because many people do not receive the full training they need to be functional in society. National development would be hugely fostered, if more adults receive education, in order that they become functional in society.

I am not saying that all adults who were not fully educated are not playing important roles in society. There are very prominent individuals in society who dropped out of school at some level. Bill Gate, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, for example, at some point dropped out of school. Though this list is not exhaustive, the number of people who dropped out of school or decided not to gain higher education and yet became successful are relatively few. For the majority who dropped out or discontinued education, and could not become successful in their careers, it was because they lacked the knowledge they needed to develop their potential. If you check the history of those who in spite of dropping out or discontinuing schooling have become successful, you would find that appeared to have found their life’s purpose and so pursued those goals and, more importantly, they received some kind of education later.

Education as we all know is a life-long activity. At any point in time, whether you dropped out of school or got honors at your graduation, you would need education. The school dropout who has found himself a vocation or gained employment needs education so he/she can be more productive, the dropout who has realized the need to school but has ‘grown past school going age’ and desires to school obviously needs education, managers as well as employees need further education in order to keep pace with today’s rapidly changing world and gain increased wages and status respectively. Somehow, the traditional education dependent society we have created for ourselves and considers the ‘best’, limits our quest for continuing education. For many people, formal education ended the day they dropped out or graduated from High School, College or University, even though, technology makes it possible for us to sit in our houses and still get quality education.

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When technology – computers and internet connectivity – replaced physical classrooms and made it possible to study by distance in real time, it appeared the issue of continuous education for everyone, including the dropout and the working class have been solved. It appeared, and still does, that now the teacher need not leave his students, apply for study-leave or leave of absence to pursue further education. It appeared the fifty-year-old woman who dropped out of school several years ago could now school from home and it appeared the father could learn what his daughter is learning at College using the same device he uses to call her. That is what it appeared. Those who dropped out of school due to issues of finance and have not since had a breakthrough would not benefit, and those who have the money would not want to put their money into a certificate employers and academicians alike would frown upon. So little appear to have changed for these two groups of people, though online Colleges and Universities abound.

Two prime issues are to blame. First, online education is too expensive for the target group of learners and second, there is the perception that online Colleges and Universities do not provide holistic education like the traditional Colleges and Universities. As indicated by Ed Vosganian – founder and CEO of College Funding 123, the cost of on-campus University for undergraduate is estimated at 42,000 dollars while for the same group it cost around 21,000 dollars for online universities. By comparison we would say that it cost far less to study via online. But we need not lose sight of those who mostly enroll in online University. It is those in the middle and lower classes who opt for online universities. They include; the employee who has sacrificed pleasure for higher qualification in return for better wages, the unemployed who wants to gain employable skills, the dropout who wants to get back to school in the hope that there will be a brighter future, and the people living in the remote part of the world, especially in the developing world, who don’t even have the money to pay fees and so would have to learn and work simultaneously. To these 21,000 dollars is money so huge, it is very difficult to raise. There are people of the higher income class who enroll in online universities, but online learning is not popular among these due to low prestige and the myths associated with online education. The online institutions will tell you, they would not put anything on your certificate to show that you received a non-traditional education. This kind of advert speaks of how society values online education. Online education is considered a cheap way of getting ‘watered down’ education. Online Colleges and Universities were until recently considered diploma mills. This perception still exists, though empirical evidence tells us there is no disparity in quality of students from traditional Colleges and Universities on one hand and online Colleges and Universities on the other. The online Universities and Colleges are doing their best to make online learning prestigious and bring down study cost, but they cannot do it alone. With government intervention online learning can become prestigious and lower and middle class friendly.

Government should provide a national framework for online education, subsidize accreditation, and grant scholarships and student loans for students in online Colleges and Universities. A national framework to guide the operations of all online colleges and universities should be instituted by the state, through the Department of Education or the relevant government agency. This framework, which would be descriptive and not prescriptive in nature would describe, for example, the minimum courses to be taken at a given level, and the general mode of operation of online universities and colleges without prescribing specific courses or mode of operation. Accreditation is not just laborious for online Colleges and Universities; it is also expensive. This cost is passed to students, souring up program fees. If the government decides to absorb half the cost of accreditation, though there is no guarantee the program fees will be halved, the program fee would be reduced somehow. Lastly, most of the students who opt for online colleges and universities do not receive scholarships and student loans from the state. Those who receive something do not get huge scholarships and student loans like their counterparts in traditional Colleges and Universities. Government should make scholarships and students loans available to students of online Colleges and Universities just as it does for students in traditional Colleges and Universities.