Bring on the Biometrics: The Security of the Future

Fingers: using the key or become the key?
Rahman Mohamed

26 years ago 2015 was predicted.  It included super advanced transportation and robots.  But it also foresaw home entry.  According to Back to the Future 2 on October 21st of this year all homes will have doorbells but entry will be keyless.  They’ll be opened with a touch of the finger.  We’ll also be identified without a card.  How close are we to that?

Biometrics is a branch of technology that analyzes and measures parts of the human body.  It includes fingerprint scans to open doors.  They may not be seen on every door today, as predicted by Director Robert Zemeckis, but its use is growing.  Today, nations across the world, including United States and Australia use biometrics to screen travellers.  On 4 June CTV reported that Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced an expansion on biometric scans on travellers to Canada.  Across the ocean in 2013 Times of India reported that biometrics will be introduced to all railway stations.

In 2013 CBC reported that Canada became “the last G7 country to adopt chip-enhanced passports; 95 countries around the world already make use of e-passports to enhance security.”  Earlier this year in May, The Cairo Post reported that Egypt would be introducing an ePassport that included biometric data.  With facial recognition (biometric) technology at airports and biometric data stored on passports it’s expected to shorten wait times.

Just last week Australian Financial Review reported that there is a growing a demand and offering of biometrics in the banking sector.  With smartphone banking apps and growing identity theft people are reportedly becoming less confident in PINs and passwords.  In turn banks are rolling out new technology to secure accounts including biometric scans.

Telstra (Australian Telecommunications) and the National Australian Bank have been working to create a second-factor verification using SMS.  On the other hand Toronto-based Bionym is working with Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) to test a wrist band called Nymi that runs on ECG technology to recognize a person using their heartbeat or electrocardiogram.

Over in the UK, Telstra has found that two-thirds of banking customers see biometric technology – fingerprint, iris, voice and facial recognition – are more secure.  ComputerWeekly.com reported that in September 2014 Barclays announced it would launch biometric readers, Hitachi’s Finger Vein Authentication Technology, or VeinID, for customer authentication.  Not only that

one in four UK consumers would even consider sharing their DNA with their financial institution, if it meant it would make authentication easier and their financial and personal information more secure.

The Secure Scan can be heard and seen.  Entry with a touch is just a heartbeat away.  The question now: when it comes, will it be the eye, the heart, the voice or the finger?

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