Biometrics to be used in banking and identification
| 01.06.2006 | 17:07:03 | Views: 2055 | ID:
January 6 '06: Biometrics, personal identifiers like iris patterns of fingerprints, have been used by governments and security personnel because of their personal nature. Wireless tools like radio tag identification are also used in security and identification. Banking institutions are now beginning to use both technologies in the way that will allow for the transfer of goods and services - swipe-less debit and credit cards will begin to replace old ones with worn out magnetic strips - and someone's fingerprint will one day be just as good a currency as a one dollar bill, USA Today reported.
"The pay-by-finger system is already being used in hundreds of US supermarkets," USA Today reported. "It relies on fingerprinting. ... Your finger is scanned and linked to your payment information. At the register, you touch your finger to the reader, enter your phone number and select bank account or credit card."Those who use the system told USA Today it was efficient and quick, allowing for easy shopping. But there are risks involved in the new technology, and many safety experts are worried about stolen identifications and other biometrics - things that cannot be replaced like a social security number or credit card.
Makers of the technology say they have installed very rigorous safety and security encryptions into the technology.One company, Pay By Touch, "takes fingerprints when customers enroll in the program. The image is then converted to about 40 unique points of the finder. Those points are stored in a computer system with 'military-level encryption'," according to John Morris, the president of the company, the paper reported. The fingerprints, Morris continued, were thrown out and only the 40 points remained - making it impossible to reverse-engineer a print to steal. Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security is considering using iris scans and fingerprints as drivers' license information - identifiers that will overlap with banking ID's - making it even harder to steal someone's identity, experts told USA Today. But Pam Dixon, the executive director of the World Privacy Forum thinks otherwise. "Eventually, there's going to be a database breach. ... These companies are not immune."
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