WHAT ARE BIOMETRIC IDENTIFIERS?
- Measurable, distinct characteristics that are used to verify the identity
of individuals, including groups that are under surveillance.
- Fingerprints, DNA, face recognition, retina scans, palm veins, hand
geometry, iris recognition, voice, and gait.
- Biometric data is extremely sensitive. If your data is compromised, it’s
not replaceable (unlike password tokens).
- Most often collected about populations that are already vulnerable,
including criminals, travelers, and immigrants.
- How is that data being used? Who has access?
- Potentially everyone, but especially groups that are under
surveillance or are deemed socially vulnerable.
- Individuals who haven’t yet had biometric data collected about them
by a government.
The idea: Biometric resistance kit
- A toolkit of wearable objects aimed at masking and altering user’s
personal biometric identity.
Receive the kit
Put on the
- Works as a community organizer and activist
in New York City.
- Organizes and attends rallies, protests, and
other events that might be under
- Doesn’t want the government to track which
events she is attending
- Doesn’t want images of her face linked to
- Doesn't use the thumbprint feature on her
- Unsure of what biometric information has
been collected about her
- Writer & academic ﬁnishing her PhD.
- French by nationality, but she has lived in
several countries, including the
Netherlands, Germany, and Greece.
- Border crossings can be a headache, but
she’s uncomfortable with sharing her
ﬁngerprint data in order to speed through
- She’s thinking about emigrating to the
U.S. to teach but isn’t sure she wants to
give up her biometric data in exchange
for a work visa.
Tech early adopter
- Works for a SF-based tech company
as a UX/UI designer
- Always purchases the newest
technologies and is often ﬁrst in line at
the Apple store when the new iPhone
- Loves the new ﬁngerprint feature on
iPhones and Windows laptops
- Enjoys the convenience and ease of
new technologies that make signing/
identity veriﬁcation really quick.
- Was arrested for jumping the MTA
subway turnstile and had to spend the
night in jail.
- She had never been arrested before and
rarely engages in extra-legal activities
- Various data was collected about her,
including 10 ﬁngerprints and various
- After her release, she’s unsure what
information the NYPD has about her and
how will be tracking her behavior in the
THE KIT: FINGERPRINTS
- How it works: Fingerprint scans take a
snapshot of the unique pattern of each
- Possible interventions:
(1) Fevicol mold + glue — Trick Apple scanner
by making a mold of someone’s ﬁngerprint
that anyone could slip on and wear.
(2) Silicon + ﬁbers — Trick Apple scanner by
wearing a silicon strip with ﬁbers embedded in
THE KIT: PALM SCANS
- How it works: Palm scanners
use infrared light to scan the
unique vein pattern in an
- Possible intervention: Create
adhesive heating pads (like the
ones you wear when you’re
skiing) that could be stuck onto
an individual’s palm in order to
block the scan.
THE KIT: HAND GEOMETRY
- How it works: Hand geometry
scanners take a snapshot of
your hand and calculate the
various distances between
ﬁngers, palm, etc. Typically
used for veriﬁcation, not
- Possible intervention: Wear a
ﬂesh-colored glove that alters
the length/location of ﬁngers.
FIELD RESEARCH & INTERVIEWS
We’ve talked to the following people about our project:
- Adam Harvey, Artist & Designer, ITP graduate (TBD)
- Nasir Memon, Professor, NYU Tandon School of Engineering
- Kevin Gallagher, Thanos Papadop, Philip Bontrager, Students, NYU
Tandon School of Engineering
- Eric Rosenthal, Professor, NYU ITP
- CTO of NYU Lagone Hospital (TBD)