(CNS News) -- In his latest report on federal government waste, a project he completes every year, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) highlights $54.7 billion in government spending that he deems wasteful. Among the items noted this year is the creation of a $6.9 million "smart toilet," which operates with three cameras, one of which can identify a user's "analprint."
As explained in The Festivus Report 2020, researchers at Stanford University used $6,973,057 in funds granted through the National Cancer Institute, which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to create a so-called "smart toilet."
The purpose of the toilet is to develop “easily deployable hardware and software for the long-term analysis of a user’s excreta through data collection and models of human health," state the researchers in an abstract.
"Each user of the toilet is identified through their fingerprint and the distinctive features of their anoderm [anus], and the data are securely stored and analysed in an encrypted cloud server," state the researchers.
"The toilet operates with artificial intelligence, includes three cameras (including one video camera), and features a urinalysis strip," according to the Festivus Report. "The toilet’s AI collects the health data and then stores it in a digital cloud system."
For it to work, the "user would sit on the toilet, and the hardware’s three cameras would use 'biometric identifiers to securely associate the collected data with the user’s identity,' such as 'fingerprinting and a distinctive method of using anal creases … referred to here as analprint," states the report.
"That’s right!" it reads. "The toilet would use fingerprint technology and a photo of the user’s nether regions to identify the user, and the toilet’s in-bowl video camera would track various metrics, including the time between sitting and first bowel movement, and other metrics relevant to bowel health."
Although this technology apparently is designed to help monitor a person's health, Sen. Paul's report notes that "no matter how good the technology is at achieving its goal, nobody is going to use a toilet that has three cameras and takes a video of the user’s 'analprint' to identify the user, never mind one that stores that data in a digital cloud that hackers could access."
"Because that’s exactly what you want, right? A photo of you like that floating around in the cloud."
The researchers are forgetting that "there’s a huge difference between video-chatting with your doctor so he or she can examine your tonsils and uploading your excrement into the cloud," reads the report.
In a concluding comment on this $6,973,057 item, Sen. Paul says, "I’ll leave it to the researchers to explain to those afflicted with these illnesses and their loved ones why they used NCI money intended to develop non-invasive early cancer screening processes to design a toilet that nobody will use anyway."