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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.

Perfect Europe Vacation Planning

Are you planning to go on a Europe Vacation some day? If so, you have picked an excellent place to venture to, as Europe has great cultural and historical significance, making it a hot locale for travelers. Places like Berlin, London, Venice, Nice, and Paris are very popular for people taking trips abroad. I have some tips for you, expert information, about how you can make your trip to Europe an experience you will never forget.

Keep an Open Mind

You should never settle on a rigid itinerary for your vacation. By traveling to a foreign location, you are giving yourself the opportunity to immerse yourself in a different culture and lifestyle than what you are accredited to. For that reason, you should try looking into short-term rentals on homes and apartments. It is actually a very common practice in that part of the world, and you will find that renting is much cheaper than hotels or resorts. This will give you the opportunity to go into the streets and meet people, allowing you to learn more about the people and lifestyle of that country. That is the best way to have an unforgettable experience.

Stability

If you are looking for a more stable vacation, sometimes you should contact a travel agent and purchase a vacation package. Packages range in price, but you may be able to find a sale if you look hard enough. A discount package price will allow you to save more money for spending while you're in Europe. The benefit of vacation packages is that they will make sure you are on tours that explore all of the major attractions of a location, allowing for a worry- free vacation.

Bargain Vacations

The true key to getting a discount on a vacation, no matter where you go, is flexibility. You can save a great deal by taking advantage of bargains that only come up at certain times of the year and at certain places. These vacations are great if you can be flexible with:

* Which of the airlines you choose

* Which cruises you want to go on

* What you want to eat

* Where you want to stay

* When you want you leave

For example, if you have no particular goal in mind, but you just want to see Europe, then you will be able to find cheaper rates for traveling and staying in certain nations. Do not wait until the last-minute to start planning your vacation!

Stretching Every Dollar (or Euro)

Keep in mind that in other countries, prices are often times negotiable. Depending on where you go, especially in countries with weaker economies, you can often times haggle on the prices of your purchases, which will help you save a lot. This usually does not work with large-scale franchise businesses, but will almost always work with small local businesses.

Also, if you choose to eat at restaurants, a local restaurant is good in this respect because they will generally offer you lower prices then places that you are accredited to seeing in America. Remember, if you really want to make the most of your European vacation, then save money every chance you get, it will allow you to spend more on the things you like!

Facebook Holiday Marketing Tips

Holiday shopping is right around the corner. And where do people like to talk about their consumer conquests? On Facebook, of course! With more than a billion users, Facebook is definitely going to be abuzz with the talk of shopping for friends and family.

Year after year, more consumers are turning to online shopping in order to avoid the crush of so many others at brick and mortar stores. If you have a business that sells a lot of products online, then you certainly need to have a good Facebook holiday marketing strategy. Even if your main focus is on in-store sales, a good social media plan can help boost traffic to your business.

Here are some tips that will help you with a strong holiday marketing plan on Facebook:

Show your holiday spirit

No one wants to see a constant stream of product plugging in their News Feed during this time of year. Use your time to increase the holiday spirit among your followers.

Post holiday-themed trivia. Make a top ten list of the best holiday movies. Offer tips for decorating the home or how to make the best hot chocolate. Another great idea is to ask followers to submit their favorite holiday photos to include in a Facebook album.

Hold special contests and sweepstakes

This is certainly the time of year when people appreciate a good contest. Contests are an excellent way for businesses to boost engagement and broaden their reach. It is also helpful in collecting more email addresses for your list to use all year.

There are several third-party apps that make it easy to set up a Facebook contest.

Be sure to offer something that is both desirable and related to your business. It might be awesome to give away a new iPad, but you are more likely to end up with short-term followers than people interested in you for the long-term.

Give valuable coupons

Another thing that people love during the holidays is to save money. Use Facebook coupons as a way to get more people excited to shop with you.

Coupons are a great way to increase customer loyalty. Having them on Facebook also makes them easy to share, so you can see an increase in your followers quickly.

A good coupon can be anything from a great BOGO offer to free shipping.

Focus more on mobile

A large percentage of social media users access their sites through a mobile device. That is why it is so important to make sure that every marketing campaign that you create works just as well when it is mobile.

Include eye-catching images, videos, and short text in your posts. Be sure to check the mobile news feed option when you pay for Facebook ads. Always insert a good call-to-action.

Speaking of calls-to-action, Facebook is now offering marketers a unique call-to-action button for ads, such as a "Shop Now" button.

Open a pop-up shop

During the holidays, it might be worthwhile for your business to create a temporary pop-up shop. This is good for new products that you are promoting or even just a listing of your top selling items.

Give them more

When people order from you at this time of year, it is always a good idea to give them a little something extra. This could be a coupon for a future purchase, a free item, or even a simple thank you note.

Small gestures like these will leave the customer with a positive impression. They could then post about their positive experience with you on their own Facebook page for their friends and family to see.

The right Facebook holiday marketing strategy is the gift that keeps on giving. When you do it well, you will create lasting relationships with your customers that extend well past the holiday season.

Are you ready for social media holiday marketing?