with the “fingerprint catchers”
There is no explaining why the National Electoral Council is set on using Cogent Systems’ fingerprint reading machines, despite numerous arguments against them. These machines are to be connected to a central computer via satellite through Gilat Communications, an Israeli company.
The CNE’s idea is to digitally record the fingerprint of each voter and transmit it to a central computer, where it will be compared with the other fingerprints received that day and, provided no other fingerprint that is “the same” is found, the voter will be allowed to exercise his right to vote. The purpose of this highly elaborate process is to identify anyone who tries to vote twice on the day of the referendum.
This would be feasible if it were not for the fact that, as has been demonstrated in other parts of the world, similar fingerprints do exist and the fingerprints of older people are not clear, as the ridges become flattened over the years. This was proved recently, when a person was unjustly accused of having taken part in terrorist activities in Madrid based on fingerprint evidence, which had been certified by three FBI experts. The FBI had to apologize to the person when the Spanish authorities arrested the true culprit, whose fingerprints were similar to those of the person who was detained by mistake.
The United States is implementing a fingerprint reading system whereby the traveler’s fingerprints are compared to that person’s information in a databank. In this case it is a one-on-one comparison, which admits a margin of error (it’s enough for the prints to be very similar). In the case of the CNE, the system would be comparing each fingerprint with up to ten million fingerprints registered that day in far from optimum conditions.
Experts contacted by VenEconomy estimated that the system adopted by the CNE will generate no less than 200,000 “false matches,” and presumably those people would be denied their constitutional right to vote, without any possibility of being able to exercise another constitutional right, that of legitimate defense.
It looks as though the government side is up to its old tricks. Recently, a call went out to its people to spend the night of August 14 queuing up outside the polling stations. Perhaps the plan is to get their fingerprints into the system first so that they cannot be invalidated by other similar fingerprints belonging to supporters of the opposition who go through the machine later.
To top it all, the satellite transmission system is not reliable either, as meteorological factors such as rain could distort transmissions on the “Ku” band, as happens with the band used by Direct TV and other similar bands.
In short, if they do not eliminate these diabolical machines as a prerequisite for exercising the right to vote, there will be no referendum.
VenEconomy July 27, 2004
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