October 3, 2013 - Yesterday, just as the US government shut itself down and put 800,000 people temporarily out of work, the hacktivist group Anonymous—who the FBI wrongly declared to be dead in August—released a video statement with an accompanying Pastebin document claiming that there are definitive links between AuthenTec, the company that developed the iPhone 5S’s fingerprint scanner, and the US government.
Anonymous has drawn the connections between AuthenTec and the US government by first pointing out that the company is a spin-off of the Harris corporation. Harris pulls in $6 billion dollars of revenue yearly and, according to its Wikipedia page, the company “produces wireless equipment, electronic systems, and both terrestrial and spaceborne antennas for use in the government, defense, and commercial sectors.” Judging from Harris’ own press releases, which Anonymous linked to in its Pastebin release, the firm makes a ton of money from US government contracts. Plus, AuthenTec is run by dudes like Frederick Jorgensen, who came from the Raytheon Corporation—a private defense contractor.
The connections between AuthenTec and the US government don’t end there. As Anonymous points out, in 2010 AuthenTec named Robert E. Grady as the chairman of the biometrics-loving company. Just in case you’re playing with an incomplete deck of Military-Industrial Complex trading cards, ol’ Grady served in George H. W. Bush’s White House.
After that, he was the managing partner and chairman of Carlyle Venture Partners—a division of the Carlyle Group. What does that mean? Well, the Carlyle Group invested $910 million into Booz Allen—the private intelligence firm that Edward Snowden worked for. The Snowden connection is one that has obviously put Carlyle, and Booz Allen’s influence over the government, into question.
Anyway, Robert E. Grady only stuck around at AuthenTec for about six months before resigning—and things were looking bleak for the company at that point. It wasn’t long after that AuthenTec started flirting with the idea of selling Apple its technology, but of course Apple just decided to buy AuthenTec outright for $356M, much to the dismay of AuthenTec’s shareholders who sued Apple almost immediately. In response, the US District Court told them to fuck off and gave Apple a high-five—and now a new wave of fingerprint scanning iPhones are helping to set sales records for Apple.
So it’s pretty clear that AuthenTec’s connections to elite government and military circles are real—and to anyone who has been following the NSA leaks of 2013, it’s obvious that there is a pervasive attitude within the NSA itself to collect any and all data it can. To really drive that point home, Anonymous refers to documents stolen from ManTech, yet another private security firm, that describe the Department of Defense’s “urgent” requirement to develop a “multi-functional, multi-domain… matching system to achieve identity dominance” in the field of biometrics.