Biometrics…

fingerprintThis is such a tough topic. Maybe some would consider me to be “old” (or at least old school) about certain things, but I don’t even like the idea of swiping my phone instead of my bank card at a store. So boimetrics? I think it’s crazy. There’s something about having physical control of an item (like a bank card) that makes every dime spent more personalized. I have to physically swipe my card and put in my pin to make a purchase. If I am not willing to go through that hassle, maybe I shouldn’t be buying the item.

A recent report by The Telegraph found that:

Of the biometric payment methods available to consumers, 16- to 24-year-olds are most keen on verification via fingerprint scanning, with 70 per cent predicting that this will be the primary form of identification by 2020.
Other methods of interest to this generation include retina scans (39pc) and facial recognition (27pc), though voice recognition (12pc), fast DNA samples (15pc) and implanted chips (16pc) remain less popular at present.
“We have more logins and passwords than ever to help keep us secure online and on the high street, but for Gen Z it just feels like an unnecessary burden,” said Jonathan Vaux, Executive Director at Visa Europe.

The article discusses that of those surveyed, 75% of those ages 16 to 24 are “ready to ditch passwords in favour of biometric security measures such as facial recognition, fingerprint and retina scanning.” I am amazed. The word I was initially going to use was “unbelievable,” however, I find this completely believable considering how lazy many of our youth are these days. What will happen when a purchase must be made and the power is out? I remember when I was in retail (and it was not all that long ago) we were taught how to calculate the tax on a piece of paper and we knew how to subtract, so giving proper change wasn’t an issue. Transactions were possible without power. Sadly, that is no longer the case. I’m not even sure most people could calculate tax with a calculator. And why should they? There’s probably an app for it.

I find this to be a sad progression in the never-ending cycle of debt as well. If absolutely nothing needs to be done to make a purchase but have your eyeball or finger scanned, I can almost guarantee people will pay less attention to how much they’re spending and more attention to that latest tweet or facebook post. Convenience is not a good reason to surrender privacy and put all electronic eggs in one basket.

A report titled Perspectives on identity, identity protection and biometrics among young people that reports on a study carried out in 2009 by the University of Kent and the UK Biometrics Institute had a lot of very interesting information on young people and biometrics as it pertains to their identities and keeping their identities safe. I found the report to be a great read, and what I pulled from the conclusion wasn’t just about biometrics, identity and privacy. Rather, it was about our young people in general:

What does appear to be clear is that because this community has grown up with the internet they tend not to modify their behaviours between the real and virtual worlds. This phenomenon together with the acceleration in the volume of personal data in the virtual world is leading to an increasing risk to young people’s identities. The group felt that more effort was required to brief young people about how to change their online behaviours and how to protect their identities.

In my opinion, biometrics is not the best answer when it comes to protecting young people’s identities, not making them remember what websites they signed up for (and the passwords), or teaching them to be responsible adults. What this could do is make our youth lazier, less worried about spending habits, and less concerned with their actual privacy. So you can scan your eyeball to pay for your $8 latte, while simultaneously posting to facebook that you just paid for the latte using the eye-scan-3000, but there’s no end to it. Digital lives will become so intertwined with their real lives that we will end up with a generation (or two, or three) or people who are unable to just live their lives a moment at a time. People who are unable to make just one good decision at a time, unwilling to learn how to grow healthy food, unwilling to spend time with their families for fear of missing something online. This is not where I want this world to go…

where’s the “back” button?

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