Despite its sci-fi depictions and paranoid hallmarks, biometric security is finally starting to gain the widespread acceptance of the general population. People seem to be opening their eyes to the convenience and utility of the cutting edge science as it makes appearances in an increasing number of places in our daily lives.
Misconception about Biometric Technolgoy
Apple’s latest iPhone version, replete with fingerprint scanning software technology, has made users feel at home with intro-level biometrics. The development of the iPhone didn’t come off as a scary, advanced unknown, and it helped steer the world of biometrics away from being lumped in with forensic-based and law enforcement procedures.
The biometric movement isn’t without opposition, however, and there are those who fight its proliferation, claiming it’s just another step toward a controlling, bleak Orwellian future.
Illegitimate fears and rumors aside, here are the facts:
First, there’s the prevalent, disturbing claim that any fingerprints recorded through biometric means are stored and handed over to law enforcement agencies in an effort to track every man, woman and child. Such an assertion couldn’t be further from the truth — the actual data received from biometric intake are stored and secured as computer signals within respective databases. The data security service doesn’t allow for fingerprints to be reconstructed from a template, nor does the image itself even necessarily need to be retained. Biometrics are a means to verify an identity, and are not used track a person from place to place.
There is also some concern that a cast could be taken of one’s finger (or, in a more morbid scenario, a finger could be lopped off entirely and presented to a biometric scanner) in order to breach security. This is another set of falsities that won’t make it out of the movies. Many sensors now come equipped with “liveness” detection, making them able to tell the difference between living tissue and other materials. Further, groundbreaking “multispectral” scanning interprets the unique ridges and fine grooves in the skin — both on the surface level and other cutaneous layers — making forgery an almost impossible task. This technology is now being employed widely, from ATM verifications to vaccine tracking records.
As the whole galaxy of biometric technology builds on itself, a natural progression is the tech’s integration with smart phones. As mentioned earlier, Apple is already leading the charge, though the only type of information recorded is fingerprinted… for now. In years to come, we’ll see more and more biometric apps and verifications through our phones, especially for work-related tasks.
The truth is that biometrics are the key in our quickly developing technological world. Biometrics aren’t part of a crime-fighting enterprise or Big Brother threat any more than the keys to your car or the PIN on your debit card. Technology has a natural way of shaking things up, but as the dust settles, advancement is almost always for the better.