May 22, 2005

So you want to use the internet, eh?

This Engadget post is full of cynicism about a public library's wish to identify the people who are using their computers to access the internet. I believe the reason they want to do this is so they can ID the people who would use their publicly funded networks for mallicious intent, which is a good thing. Problem is, the public won't like having their privacy invaded like this. I'm a little bit on the fence about this one. I think the publicly funded networks should have a means by which they are able to monitor the usage of their networks and other types of office equipment so they can keep system hackers and perverts from creating lawsuit material for them. HOWEVER, the need for biometric verification of a user on a publicly used free system does create a situation where people who are protective of their identity (even from the government) will be hesitant to provide the indentifying information required to make a system like the one described above work. This type of application of biometrics doesn't seem very well thought out. In most cases I'm the type of person who will stand up for the government's responsibility to protect it's citizens (even from themselves), but invading their privacy to do it is a whole different matter all together. There are ways to control usage of these types of systems without the overblown requirements Naperville, Ill. has made up for themselves, and I imagine they'll be less expensive to implement. Less tax-payer monies spent on something which will then have to be defended with more tax-payer monies in court because you know the ACLU will sue the city over this. I think if they don't want that kind of hassle they shouldn't start asking for it.

1 comment:

tammo21 said...

biometrics in a public library? wow, we still have to show ID to buy alcohol and cigarettes, and libraries think their precious internet access is worthy of such an identification system?

seems to me it's more like some jerks with too much time on their hands and a pet project they want to see to fruition no matter who foots the bill.