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How Biometrics Can Benefit User Privacy

November 28, 2017 No Comments

Featured article by Dan Radak, Independent Technology Author

Living in the digital age means that most of our assets have crossed over from the real world and into the digital domain, including out personal information. One of the main issues e-commerce and online business owners face is trying to keep that information private and secure and all it takes is a single hack, fraud, or some other breach of security for customers to lose their trust in a specific brand and abandon it for some of the other, more secure alternatives.

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As losing customers isn’t bad enough, a tarnished reputation can and will make attracting new clients and customers even more difficult. Finding a suitable way to protect sensitive information is imperative for developing a successful business relationship with your clients. Fortunately, a rising number of technological advancements have made it easier for companies to find new, secure solutions for keeping personal information safe and out of reach of those hell bent on exploiting it. Let’s dive deeper into the world of biometrics and explore all the ways in which their real-world application actually benefits user privacy.

What is biometric scanning?

Biometrics or scanning technologies refer to any kind of technology capable of authenticating users by scanning parts of their bodies, such as fingerprints, face, voice, retinas, etc. Most high-end smartphones already have a fingerprint scanner used to unlock the device, while Apple has decided to completely replace the fingerprint scanner with FaceID, its newly developed 3D facial scanner. Apple argues that the chances of a random person using their face to unlock your iPhone are about one in a million, while the chance of them using their fingerprint to unlock it is only around 1 in 50,000.

The information paradox

One of the greatest paradoxes in keeping information secure is the fact that companies will often ask their users to divulge even more information in order to strengthen their security. Think about all those websites that ask for your mother’s maiden name or your favorite sports team. We are already giving up a lot of personal information during the registrations process and having to provide additional information for the sake of security seems a bit nonsensical. Scanning technologies can be used to completely replace all those security questions with a single scan, thereby decreasing the number of personal information users have to give up for the sake of security.

Password issues

A lot of users struggle with remembering their passwords. This is hardly surprising, once you consider that a strong password not only needs to be lengthy but also has to contain both upper- and lower-case letters and other alphanumerical characters for every online service they use. Remembering all those individual passwords is by no means easy, which is why most users simply opt for information such as their phone number, their date of birth or the date of birth of a person close to them, such as a family member or a significant other.

This type of behavior only feeds into the information paradox and makes security breaches all the more dangerous. Biometric scans provide businesses and companies with the opportunity to completely bypass this issue and provide their customers with an even better customer experience by eliminating the need for complicated passwords.

That said, asking for an e-mail address or a date of birth is one thing, but asking for a face or a fingerprint scan might be too much for some users. One of the ways companies can and should build trust with their customers is by using the latest, up-to-date PCI DSS security standards. Achieving and maintaining a PCI DSS compliance standard might be challenging, especially for small and up-and-coming businesses but, at the end of the day, it is a small price to pay for keeping your employee, client and customer information private and, more importantly, secure.

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Are scanning technologies becoming mainstream?

The answer is a sound yes. Laptop and smartphone manufacturers have already been using fingerprint scanning technology for some time now and Apple’s latest mobile iteration has gone away fingerprint scanning and replaced it with a far more efficient and secure alternative. It’s only a matter of time before smaller companies follow suit and abandon the practice of asking for more information for the sake of security.

Behavioral analysis is also being used to determine user’s identities by tracking their browsing patterns and other types of seemingly insignificant information such as when they browse or where they click, some argue that a simple change in mood or energy levels is more than enough to be registered as a behavioral change and leave them locked out of their devices and personal accounts.

Instead of replacing one security measure for another, the best course of action would be to use multiple security measures. This way, if one of them fails or suffers a breach, there’s at least one additional safeguard keeping your information secure. New identification technologies are hardly making the old ones obsolete, and in fact, simply need to be implemented into the existing security network in order to ensure optimal security levels.

Dan Radak is a marketing professional with eleven years of experience. He is currently working with a number of companies in the field of digital marketing, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies. He is also a coauthor on several technology websites and regular contributor to Technivorz.


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