America's Battlefield Biometric Scanning Keeps Perfect Record of Millions

Distinguishing friend from foe has been one of the greater challenges through years of American military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. But science fiction-worthy biometric scanning, the NYT reports, is changing the face of warfare, two irises at at ime.

The instant, advanced imaging tech has scanned the faces of one in six fighting-age men in Afghanistan, and a staggering one in four in Iraq. That's millions and millions of eyes and faces, along with matching fingerprints. The military's database means insurgents, prisoners, and other figures of note can be identified with near absolute certainty—making forged papers and trickery futile.

But not everyone's happy about the tracking. Local governmental authorities aren't entirely comfortable with the US holding onto an enormous trove of immaculate biometric data pinned to their citizens.

Would we be? Our entire notion of nation building has been guided by a template of American liberty—but it's hard to imagine any American stomaching biometric tagging en masse. [NYT]