What You Need to Know About Biometrics
The combination of biometrics, AI, and machines is a powerful and growing force in government, business, and society. The implications are profound and far reaching.
There are two categories of biometric authentication: physical and behavioural.
This category includes familiar technologies like retinal scans, fingerprints, facial recognition, and voice recognition. Lesser known methods of physical biometric authentication include identifying veins under the skin and using a wearable device to locate unique cardiac rhythms.
This category is a more dynamic approach to biometric authentication that includes the analysis of your typing rhythm and error patterns, how you interact with devices, your gait, and mouse movements.
The original intention for developing biometry was based on security and has been developed to support immigration inspection (including electronic passports), criminal identification (using facial recognition and public surveillance cameras), to combat identity theft, ensure the proper delivery of government benefits, the security of personal data, and the protection from theft in the financial industry including ATMs, mobile banking, and online transactions.
Business & Consumer Benefits
The scope of biometry has expanded beyond government and security services into applications that benefit businesses and consumers. The largest application markets to date are consumer, finance, healthcare, government, and enterprise-level physical and IT security.
Businesses are improving productivity by using biometric data to create more efficient workstations, reduce bottlenecks, and redeploy staff according to work needs. They are also using biometry for time and attendance systems, to improve workplace safety, and to secure goods, premises, and protect proprietary information.
We see it trickling into the consumer marketplace through products like the SimCam Baby which goes way beyond video and audio enabled baby monitors by putting an AI nanny in the nursery at all times. With night vision to watch baby sleep, geo-fencing technology to alert parents to crib escapes, programming to play soothing music when the baby cries, the SimCam Baby will also ensure your Instagram is well fed by snapping pictures whenever the baby smiles.
Advances in biometric technology and its increased use and application are not without risk. Like all security systems, it can be hacked.
Facial recognition systems can be beat by printing 3D images of faces taken from 2D pictures. The same goes for fingerprints. Even vein authentication was beat by researchers using an SLR camera from just 5 meters away.
The rise of increasingly unbeatable “deepfakes”, false photos, video, and audio fabricated using existing source data, has terrifying potential. The ability to manipulate or create a false reality that is completely undetectable threatens the trust most of our institutions are built on.
Like all emerging technologies, ensuring the upsides outweigh the downsides will require well-thought-out regulations, new developments and best practices in cryptography, and advances in technologies specific to combatting biometry fraud.