We may use a small number of biometric devices in our daily lives; I have several of the Microsoft Fingerprint Readers still in use on Windows XP machines (Microsoft never updated the software to work with Vista, nor did it ever work on machines on a domain controller). Few people, comparatively, have ever used biometrics on any continuing basis.

A story from slashdot tells us that the city of Leon, Mexico is about to undergo a change, and that the city will have biometric identity checks all over the surrounding areas.

“The million-plus citizens of Leon, Mexico are set to become the first example of a city secured through the power of biometric identification. Iris and face scanning technologies from Global Rainmakers, Inc. will allow people to use their eyes to prove their identify, withdraw money from an ATM, get help at a hospital, and even ride the bus. Whether you’re jealous or intimidated by Leon’s adoption of widespread eye identification you should pay attention to the project – similar biometric checkpoints are coming to locations near you. Some are already in place.”

The problem is that many people will be freaked out by this, with cries of the Orwellian world being upon us.

The one thing about this is, there won’t be much, if any, identity theft going on in Leon, Mexico. I am for anything that reduces problems, and brings order. I have certainly read enough mysteries and sci-fi to know what all the downsides might be, but I am also old enough to see that those scenarios usually don’t play out – and if they do, there is generally nothing that can be done to change them.

Have you noticed any biometrics that will be (or already are) affecting your life?


By a curious confusion, many modern critics have passed from the proposition that a masterpiece may be unpopular to the other proposition that unless it is unpopular it cannot be a masterpiece.

– G. K. Chesterton