Think of the number of things in use today for controlling access to anything; keys, cards, passwords, PINs, and the list goes on. Biometrics is the key to a key-free world, where you don’t need to memorize anything or carry multiple access devices, since the access device is you.
With biometric technologies like fingerprint scanning, facial and voice recognition, and even iris recognition becoming popular in smartphones, authentication can be made more secure and convenient. In fact, many smartphone apps already use biometric authentication for authorizing payments.
As with any emerging technology, there is a world of possibilities as well as a few concerns:
- Social Impact – Biometric technologies scan biological patterns which are unique to an individual to identify them. They are so accurate and individual that law enforcement agencies and judicial systems around the world have used them for over a century.
This makes many people skeptical, since collecting and processing biological patterns like fingerprints have been almost exclusively associated with criminal investigation.Many privacy advocates also feel that making certain biometric technology mandatory is a violation of civil liberties and constitutional rights.
- Emerging Trends – Biometric technology is already extremely close to what we’ve seen in sci-fi movies. A computer that can recognize your voice, understand your commands and execute them – sound familiar? In the near future, we can expect to see a higher adoption rate and better technology for facial recognition, not just for access to personal devices but also for authentication and personalization.
Behavioral patterns have already been integrated with biometrics to provide personalized recommendations and even show relevant advertisements. Soon, these may be linked with authentication methods, and e-signatures might replace digital ones. Doctors will be able to easily access your health records to provide better diagnoses,while airports are already using single-token biometric passports to replace multiple checkpoints.
- Providing Security with Comfort – There are multiple techniques used for biometric identification, so they can be used in diverse applications like access control and authentication, identity management and forensic identification. Apart from being extremely difficult, if not impossible, to replicate or forge as of now, they are extremely accurate and convenient for both the individual and from a technology implementation standpoint.
- Cloud-Based Biometric Technology – Cloud-based biometric technology is the latest innovation for secure authentication which offer all the advantages of biometric technology while increasing security and addressing identity theft. The biometric information is not transmitted or stored in a centralized server. They are stored on a cloud which authenticates the credentials and then shares only the authentication status with a device.
While biometric technology has boomed in some areas, like smartphones, its wide-scale adoption still faces resistance, both social and personal. Recent exposes of biometrics being used for surveillance have only added fuel to the fire. Security is also a concern, but constant advancements in technologies and systems are slowly making it an inseparable part of our lives!