I just did an interview with Pete Norman at Sky News, who’s covered a story that’s bound to ignite strong opinions: efforts by the US military to ID any web user simply by means of their speech or online behaviour (e.g., the way they use their mouse, keyboard or touchscreen).
This sort of “cognitive fingerprinting” would apparently be so quick and silent that the person being ID’d wouldn’t even need to know it’s happening — in other words, it’d be a very different process to voluntarily entering a password, or placing a finger on an iPhone, or presenting a biometric passport to a scanner.
There are definitely huge privacy concerns that would need to be addressed, and I generally stick to the principle that I only accept being ID’d if I’m shown the ID of the person or agency that is ID’ing me (like how signs at UK airports make it clear that the biometric scanners are run by the Border Force, or the way a police officer is required to show their badge). Nevertheless, the internet will only become a civilised, law-abiding place if somebody develops an accurate and immediate way to identify the people using it — so the underlying technology here seems useful.
Anyway, check out the article for yourself and see what you think: