My gym now uses my biometric "signature" to figure out whether I am a paid member. "We no longer issue membership cards" the signs proclaim. No -- you enter your phone number and stick your finger onto the boxy little scanner in the picture above. If all goes well (not always in my case), a green light on the scanner flashes and the read-out at the top of the key pad urges "ENJOY YOUR WORKOUT!" All very efficient.
Ten years ago I might have protested allowing a gym to store a scan of my index finger. I probably still should, but that's a fight I haven't got the energy for. After all, the Feds got my fingerprints decades ago when I blockaded one of their buildings and the local cops took prints at many of my civil disobedience arrests. Not to mention that the State of California takes prints at the DMV. They know who I am; they have for a long time.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that my gym is effectively running a marketing test of whether consumers will accept giving private entities their bodily signatures.
More creepty that "neat" it seems to me, but we will undoubtedly live with more of it.
So now that the U.S. Army is on the way out, who gets this collection of identity information? In a society that has mostly been ruled by dictators who employed a diligent and vicious secret police, this is not an idle question. The idea of one or another of the competing sectarian ethnic cleansing gangs that now label themselves political parties getting the data is scary. So is the likelihood that someday having had a close contact with the U.S. occupiers may be enough to get an Iraqi fired or even killed. Opinions differ on what passing on the data will mean:
For the Iraqis, the war isn't over, despite Oval office speeches.