(retrieved from https://gcn.com/articles/2017/11/09/iarpa-facial-recognition.aspx)
Do you set a password for your laptop, mobile phone, iPad or other electronic devices? If yes, why do you set passwords? I always set up passwords when I receive a new electronic device because I think the equipment provides a private space for me and I want to protect my information on the device. The advance of technology allows me to set up passwords in various ways, from simple words and numbers to biometric recognition, such as fingerprint, voice, and facial recognition.
Touch ID is a simple way to unlock my iPhone and some Apps. Now, the technology even allows us to unlock the phone with a simple look. For example, iPhone X enables users to unlock their phones by facial recognition. The identification process is based on the algorithm to do a one-to-many search in a database and then reject the faces different from the Phone owner. Since it is difficult for me to remember a lot of passwords for different Apps, touch ID helps me to log in more easily because you will never forget or lose your passwords. Moreover, it helps to improve customer experience. These unique individual characteristics are called biometric features. Using the biometric information to get accesses online, however, worries me. According to Tatham’s report (2017), more and more devices with biometric technology will be produced in the future.
Fingerprints biometrics are becoming the most common identity feature on smartphones… Meanwhile, 93% of top U.S. financial institutions already offer fingerprint scanning in their mobile applications, according to Pascual. According to Acuity Market Intelligence, all smartphones will have at least some kind of biometric technology on board by 2019 and that same growth will extend to wearables and tablets by 2020. (Tatham, 2017, para. 7-8)
I am concerned where my biometric information stores and who access to my biometric information. Do we only store our data on our phone when we record our fingerprint or voice on the mobile phones? Given that biometric authorization system is a one-to-many matching system, so there must be a database. I believe when we set touch ID or facial recognition to unlock our phones, our information is collected into a database.
Then, is the biometric database legally owned by companies? If the companies own our information, how can they protect our information and keep the database safe? CNBC (March 7, 2017) reported that “[m]ore than 200 apps were found to be exposing sensitive consumer information, with close to 60 percent of the leaks coming from news, sports and shopping apps.” (https://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/03/hundreds-of-mobile-websites-and-apps-are-found-to-leak-personal-info.html) When companies are developing biometric identification technology, I think they should think how to secure the database and knowledge the public how safely the information will be protected. It is a part of the corporate social responsibility, and it is a way to meet stakeholders’ expectation of organizational legitimacy.
Of course, protecting individual information is not the only corporate responsibility or the government agenda. We, as users of these new technologies, are responsible for our information. Biometric identifications become a big selling point for technology companies such as Apple Company (https://www.barrons.com/articles/is-apple-ditching-fingerprints-for-facial-recognition-1487197904). It is appealing to us. However, to protect ourselves, I suggest that the public should know how biometric technology works and what potential issues we will have before using new techniques. In that case, we can safely enjoy new technologies.