From fingerprints to voice, tongue, and even odor recognition, Birmingham explores the ways our identities are being linked to unique physical features or behaviors.
It’s a quick overview, with general looks at several types of established or experimental biometrics and briefer glances at a few more-speculative ones. For each of the former the author rates collection difficulty and (putative) level of security on a simple scale, then goes on to discuss in nontechnical language collection methods, current uses, and distinctive pros and cons. As food for thought, she does weigh the convenience of using biometrics rather than plastic or passwords as identification over such larger privacy and security issues as the proliferation of surveillance cameras in public places. This nuance is missing, however, with her closing, superficial observation that even if it’s “anyone’s guess” where the science of biometrics is headed, at least it shows that we’re all “unique through and through.” Turner’s small cartoon views of stylized high-tech gear and simplified (if diversely hued) human figures brighten the presentation without adding much of substance.
It’s a light once-over that really doesn’t do the complex topic justice, but it may spur young readers into taking care with their IDs and personal information. (index, source list) (Nonfiction. 9-11)