RFID Tracking Could Be Mandatory on Food Stamps

From Pakalert Press:

The USDA is now considering biometric identification for all individuals who will want to benefit from their Food and Nutrition Services. The RFID chip may just soon be a must for everyone who does not want to starve!

The following is an excerpt of the executive summary of the FINAL REPORT of the Use of Biometric Identification Technology to Reduce Fraud in the Food Stamp Program:

Biometric identification technology provides automated methods to identify a person based on physical characteristics—such as fingerprints, hand shape, and characteristics of the eyes and face—as well as behavioral characteristics—including signatures and voice patterns.

Biometric identification systems are currently operational at some level in Arizona, California (under county initiative, first by Los Angeles County), Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Texas. Finger imaging is the principal form of technology used in all eight States, though alternative technologies have simultaneously undergone trials in Massachusetts (facial recognition) and Illinois (retinal scanning). By the end of 2000, new systems are expected to be in place in California (statewide unified system), Delaware, and North Carolina. Other States are currently in the initial planning stages, including Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

From the USDA

  • A small number of duplicate applications (approximately 1 duplicate for every 5,000 cases) have been detected by finger imaging systems. Finger-imaging systems appear to detect more fraud in statewide implementations than in regional pilot systems. Additional matches have been found by interstate comparisons of finger-image data.
  • Institution of a finger-imaging requirement can produce a significant, short-term reduction in caseload, because some existing clients refuse to comply with the requirement. The number of refusals depends on the implementation procedures and appears to be lower when finger imaging is incorporated into the recertification process.
  • The most carefully controlled estimate of non-compliance among existing clients suggests that introduction of a finger-imaging requirement reduces participation by approximately 1.3%. However, this estimate reflects both reduced fraud and deterrence of eligible individuals and households.