Biometrics is the process of using unique physical or behavioral characteristics to identify an individual. The main problem is that once biometric data leaks, nothing can be done to invalidate it.
As biometric technologies become increasingly popular and available, it’s important to weigh the potential risks and implications. In this quick guide, we’ll explore what biometrics are, how they are used, and how to make informed decisions about them.
What is defined as biometric data?
Biometric information is a person’s distinct set of physical and behavioral traits that may be used for verification and identification. Fingerprints, irises, faces, and even DNA may all contribute to a person’s biometric profile. Individuals identities can be reliably confirmed by providing this information.
Some examples of biometric information include:
- Fingerprint recognition
- Iris scans
- Facial recognition
- Palm prints
- Hand geometry
- DNA analysis
- Voice recognition
- Signature recognition
- Keystroke dynamics
- Gait analysis.
Are There Legal Implications for Biometric Data Collection?
Yes, biometric data collection carries certain legal implications. Many jurisdictions have passed laws that require organizations to protect and store biometric information in secure databases.
Furthermore, many of these laws also impose additional requirements on organizations, such as obtaining written user approval or providing users with the option to opt-out. It’s important to check the applicable laws of your jurisdiction before collecting biometric data.
How Does Unauthorized Use of Biometric Data Impact Consumers?
Unauthorized use of biometric data can have serious implications for consumers, as this type of data is particularly sensitive and vulnerable to misuse.
In addition to the risk of identity theft, unauthorized use of biometric data may also result in reputational damage, financial loss, and invasion of privacy.
If someone were to gain access to a consumer’s biometric markers (e.g., fingerprints or facial recognition) they may be able to bypass security measures or purchase items in their name without their knowledge.
What Security Safeguards Should Be in Place to Mitigate Risk?
Organizations deploying biometric technologies should take extra precautions to safeguard consumer data.
Data-handling practices should be established and thoroughly documented, including regular technical audits to detect any unauthorized access or data leakage.
Security protocols such as multi-factor authentication and secure systems architecture should also be implemented to protect the accuracy and integrity of consumer data. Further, organizations should have a plan in place for responding quickly and effectively in the event of a security breach or incident.
How Can Companies Responsibly Pilot and Deploy New Biometrics Projects?
Organizations should set up well-structured pilot programs before deploying biometric technologies widely. These pilots can serve as a testing ground for organizations to identify any potential issues with the technology and make necessary adjustments to their systems.
Regular practice of consumer consultation is also essential for organizations to understand user preferences and opinions about the technology – especially about privacy, data security, accuracy, and reliability.
Finally, any changes or upgrades in biometric technology should be conducted by industry regulations and best practices.