The Ethics Of Biometric Data Acquisition And Usage From The Software Developer

The Ethics Of Biometric Data Acquisition And Usage From The Software Developer

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In this paper we will explore the ethics of biometric data acquisition and usage from the software developer. For ethical guidance software developers have three main sources, as identified by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). These sources come in the form of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Code of Ethics (CoE), Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) CoE and Professional Conduct, and the Software Engineering CoE and Professional Practice authored by a joint committee of the ACM and IEEE - Computer Society (IEEE-CS). Our argument will be that the use of data from first generation systems must be used in a manner that either guarantees accuracy or has a built in fall back mechanism, protected from function creep, and that end user license agreements (EULA) are an invalid way to ethically justify such behavior. This argument will be founded upon the principles of honesty, openness, respect for subjects and social responsibility. Also, in the case of EULA’s the right to autonomy of the average citizen must outweigh that of the collector to collect and/or use data in new ways, be they the State or private company. First generation biometrics is defined as the quantization of unique characteristics about a person such as fingerprints, retinal scans, facial geometry, and more, and is what is most commonly thought of as biometric identifiers. The acquisition of this data also defines it with the acquisition being an invasive process of which the submitter is typically aware, consenting or otherwise such as directly obtained from the subject, collection is authorized by the collectors position (i.e., police obtaining fingerprints at a crime scene), court ordered collection by a ...


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...dered an asset. A new product line rolls out, and the company reuses data to form some system model. For instance, the military’s DNA database is routinely examined in criminal searches which is outside the scope and purpose of the database in the first place which is to identify deceased members. Many governments, and many more private companies, are looking for ways to reuse the data they have collected in new ways. Private companies thrive on this as they result in new, and essentially free as they have already paid for the data previously, revenue sources, and the end user is simply left in the dark until one day they are misidentified and potentially sent to prison. Typically the end user does not know about, and perhaps would not agree to, if they knew about this reuse and repurposing. One tool, hopefully championed by lawyers and not developers, is the EULA.

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