Face of Terror: Biometrics, Terrorist Tracking, and Privacy in a Military and National Security Context

This article analyzes biometrics used for counterterrorism purposes with a particular focus on facial recognition technology (FRT). There is also a discussion of screening and watchlisting, some of which is biometrics based. The article considers privacy issues related to biometrics and the advantages of certain modalities over others. These are relevant touchpoints as nation states attempt to protect their citizenry while simultaneously intercepting malign actors who seek to inflict damage or gain notoriety through commission of terrorist acts and other crimes. This article also provides definitions for baselining purposes, although definitions vary among criminal codes and terrorism-related policies which have been adopted by various nation states and international bodies. This article will attempt to shed light on several aspects of modern identity management and associated activities and explain the reasons and the processes involved in the collection and sharing of identity data. There is a heavy focus on facial images, as this is the oldest of biometric modalities and in many respects, ironically, appears to also be the “future” of biometrics. The article is United States-centric, as the global deployment and integration of biometric devices and databases for national security purposes came into its own during the prosecution of the Global War on Terror (GWOT). The full article can be read here:

20181231 NSJ – Face of Terror – Biometrics, Terrorist Tracking, and Privacy in a Military and National Security Context (Newbold)

Rick Newbold Written by:

Mr. Newbold has been working in the national security field since 2003 and has been an IAPP-certified privacy professional since 2007. He holds a JD from Regent University, an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management, and an LL.M. in National Security Law from Georgetown.

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