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The Great God Convenience And Biometrics

The term ‘Biometrics’ refers to the biological measurements or physical characteristics that can be used to identify individuals, and credit card companies are now adopting the use of this technology to eventually do away with physical cards altogether and have machines everywhere that will scan faces to make purchases etc.
The idea of the convenience of sticking your mug in front of a machine instead of swiping a card however has brought some real security concerns associated with this technology to the fore.

Passwords or pin numbers can be changed while biometric information cannot, so you need to always present the same smiling face to the machine or you don’t get your goods or money. Such a procedure will have complications for sure. The need for the scanned image to be constant makes it more vulnerable for a start.

Hackers have already had success fooling biometric scanners with masks, animated images and a variety of other nefarious techniques while there is plenty of information on the web showing how to fool a phone’s fingerprint security, giving access to personal data. Iris scanning has been hacked too by the use of modified contact lenses.

But the major concern is that companies introducing biometric technology will align themselves with government agencies, giving authorities major surveillance capability. Those who have looked into the efficacy of facial recognition have concluded that overall, the technology is less robust than the current card system but this is not deterring credit card companies who no doubt want a piece of the future surveillance financial pie and are betting on the technology improving.

If an unscrupulous government or corporation was to misuse an individual’s biometric data then identity theft could reach major new heights and personal autonomy will likely be further eroded into oblivion as the net around the bulk of society is tightened to the point where freedom of choice will be a thing of the past. One only has to look at how the Chinese have been reduced to frightened conformists by the the ‘social credit system’ in that country to see where this technology leads. Get caught by a camera crossing the street in the wrong place and a citizen is automatically downgraded and money taken from their account. Be seen by camera associating with a known dissident or even someone with a low social credit score and one is penalised with a fine and a downgrade.

So is the great god ‘Convenience’ being touted to take us even further into an Orwellian world than we currently are and will biometrics be the tool that is used to control that world? Looks like it to me, unless of course people refuse to use the technology or find ways to avoid it.

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