Biometrics Data is Vulnerable, Warn Experts
Industry forecasters say the market for biometric data-collection systems will double or triple in size over the next five years. The technology, which analyzes such markers as fingerprints, voice prints, face shape, palm and finger veins, and irises, is used in applications as varied as passports and Disneyland passes. But storing the data on both government and privately owned computers poses an increasing threat to individual privacy and opens up new frontiers in identity theft, say security experts.
Privacy advocates are growing concerned about biometric "function creep": A company that scans your iris for an ID badge, they say, might also allow government or commercial entities to run this biometric data against their own databases—whether for legitimate or questionable purposes—without your consent. This is why encryption of biometric data is needed, argue Canadian and European biometric experts.
A story for IEEE Spectrum on Aug. 18, 2009. Image by Andy Piatt/iStockphoto