Technology Review closes in on an interesting application for spooky biometric computer systems – using Big Brother security software to identify penguins:

The software involved–originally developed for recognizing individual human faces–has developed rapidly in recent years. But so far, the so-called Penguin Recognition Project, run by Bristol University, in England, is the first large-scale attempt to use this technology to catalogue and monitor an entire population of animals in the field.

Robben Island is home to roughly 20,000 African penguins, a threatened species that has declined by 90 percent in the past century…. Software picks up the penguins’ fingerprint-like patterns of black and white feathers, and uses these patterns to identify individual animals.