Despite privacy concerns, readers bullish on biometrics

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Friday, August 23, 2019

YARMOUTH, Maine—With the debate on biometrics and data privacy heating up, and more and more states seeking to regulate the collection, use and retention of biometric data, this month’s News Poll focuses on the future of biometrics and its role in security.

Interestingly, despite privacy concerns, readers are bullish on biometrics. While a whopping 94 percent of respondents feel there should be biometric laws in place, an overwhelming number, 76 percent, think facial recognition will continue to be adopted.

And although the majority of respondents see continued growth for biometric solutions, 12 percent felt “there will be some pushback,” and another 15 percent said “only time will tell.”

While many respondents see the benefit of biometric technology within security, price is still a factor for some. For example, 64 percent said, “It creates a safer, more seamless experience,” while the remaining 36 percent said they see, “Some [benefit], but the price is still prohibitive.”

This month’s News Poll stirred up some interesting comments from respondents. The following is a sampling of those that are fit for print:

“It’s likely if you’ve ever been to a Las Vegas casino, your face has been stored. The iphone 10 now uses facial recognition to open your phone. I’m certain the data collection began years ago under the Obama Administration. Too late to fight it.”

“People here ‘biometric’ and think someone is going to use this information to frame them for a horrific crime. The security industry needs to do a MUCH better job of explaining the technology, and also be more selective about where it is installed.”

“We praise the security guard who recognizes employees, because it improves the chances of recognizing an unusual security risk. So if machines can amplify our recognition and ranking of risks, in a well-defined legal framework, better security and convenience is a big win (like Apple FaceID to unlock phones).”

“Face and voice biometrics struggle with race (in particular) and more broadly, with accuracy. Fingerprint, iris and similar technologies are more accurate. Think about how many degrees of freedom there are with the various methods … hint: iris has over 270!”

“Must understand that what is ok in the USA will be different in other countries. Legal departments must be on top of this.”

“The problem is the use and storage of biometrics for reasons other than those for which it was collected without the knowledge and permission of the ‘victim.’ If you discover that it has happened, I wonder if a breach of copyright action would succeed as you could claim that your biometrics were an ephemeral work of art that you had spent years working on and as such, the copyright belonged to you and could not be used by others without (massive) payment!”