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.

Care And Maintenance Of The Human Hard Drive

The human brain is very much like a hard drive. If you stop to think of it, they are both filled with billions of tiny bits of information, stored in the memory cells just waiting to be accessed. They both use electrical energy to find those bits and put them together to recreate something that we have placed there. They work on demand, and we expect them to instantly give us what we want.

And frankly, many people abuse both their hard drives and their brains! They fill them up with information and expect them to perform at top efficiency without the benefit of good maintenance. There are some basic support tasks that are essential to the well being of both. If you do not take proper care of both of them, they will fail you.

Both brains and hard drives need to be de-fragged on a regular basis! De-fragment means that you allow the machine (brain or hard drive) to rearrange the information that has been stored in it, so that it can find what you need more quickly and efficiently. When bits of information get stored all over the place, with no logical order to it, then it takes a lot longer for the machine to find and reassemble what you need quickly.

Probably, you have your hard drive set up to de-frag itself on a regular basis. It is done automatically, maybe while you sleep. Well, your brain does not have a task-scheduler to take care of this for you! It is busy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. It can not reset itself while you sleep. That is because it is still working on the things that your subconscious is trying to sort out. It is dreaming and remembering and stressing all the while.

So how do you de-frag your brain? Well, it takes three things: rest, relaxation and meditation. If you are a type A personality, then these three things may be altogether foreign territory for you! You may be in a high-stress job, or always be taking care of others but never yourself, or you may somehow think that taking care of yourself first is something that you do not deserve. Wrong! If you do not take care of this, it will force the issue. You may get sick, depressed or worse.

Meditation is an excellent way of maintaining your brain. It forces you to sit, relax and do "nothing" for a bit. You clear your poor brain of the clutter and the chatter and just let it run free. You do not have to do anything special, really, to meditate; you just find something that transports you! Music works for a lot of people. You can dance if it helps you, or do some drumming. You could get a good meditation tape or CD and listen to that. You could even sign up for a Tai Chi course, or try some yoga. Whatever you decide to do, do it regularly. At least once a week is necessary for the proper de-fragging of the average hard drive and the average brain.

At the very least you should be setting aside some time every week to just do something relaxing. Take a long bubble bath with some candles lit and some soothing music playing. Go sit outside in nature. The trick here is to just DO it, to take the time for yourself no matter what. See that you deserve it and that it is just as important as going to a doctor when you are sick. In fact, it can help keep those doctor visits to a minimum!

And while you are at it, consider getting a good anti-virus too. Your hard drive needs it to protect your information, and your body needs it to keep healthy. Anti-virus for the body means taking better care of you. Eat something healthy, go out and take a walk, and get more sleep! You can find the time to do this if you make it a priority.

If you take care of your hard drive, both the computer type and the body type, your life will improve significantly. Both will run smoothly and have a lot less crashes!

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?

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.