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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

US creates terrorist fingerprint database

The US government is building a massive database designed to identify individual terror suspects from fingerprints on objects such as a tea glass in an Iraqi apartment or a shell casing in an abandoned Al Qaeda training camp.

The database is being created in part by forensic specialists searching for and preserving evidence overseas. They are collecting unidentified latent fingerprints in places once occupied by Al Qaeda and other suspected terrorists....

"Our assessment of these systems is that many that are undertaken with a goal of identifying terrorists eventually become systems of mass surveillance directed toward the American public," says Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington.

"When Secretary Chertoff says we are trying to identify people who were in safe houses in Iraq with terrorists, that is a very small part of the story," Mr. Rotenberg says. "The technology used to identify a terrorist in a safe house in Iraq is the exact same technology that can be used to identify a war protester in a Quaker meeting house in southern Florida." [Link]

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