Biometric Technology. What Are The Risks?

  • Published: Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020

Biometric technologies refer to the ways to identify a person based on some aspect of their biology through the use of technology. Fingerprint, voice, eye and facial recognition are all forms of biometric technology. The advantages of using biometrics for identification are ease of use, security and access control. Some disadvantages are costs, possibility of false positives/negatives and lack of security.

Wait, security is an advantage AND a disadvantage?

As with any security initiative there are inherent risks involved. Security is best performed in layers and there is no silver bullet solution in a single security platform. Using biometrics only as an authentication process is fallible. Biometrics are easy to fake and many instances have been proven. Coupling biometric authentication with another form such as a PIN or card is more secure.

Fingerprints and eye scans can be stolen and replicated. In the case of a breach a password can be changed. However, fingerprints, faces and eyes are not easily replaced. Biometric databases are being developed and store various forms of biometric information. In the case of a data breach these could be invaluable assets for the cyber criminal. Ways to avoid this possible compromise are to tokenize or hash the biometric data that is stored.

Although the development of biometric technology is not intended for the use of privacy invasion it does raise some questions. Can the process of automating human identity be used in the future for surveillance purposes? By linking our data to our identities are we increasing our risks of security and privacy?


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