mobile, privacy, technology

Mobile devices pose privacy risks and biometrics can help

Forget silly privacy worries – help biometrics firms make MILLIONS (The Register)

Tech firms are set to experience a biometric bonanza – as long as they can persuade ordinary folk to give up worrying about their privacy.

That’s the claim in a briefing note from “growth consulting firm” Frost & Sullivan, which suggested the number of smartphones equipped with biometric gubbins will soar from 43 million to 471 million by 2017.

This, according to the beancounters, means the biometric revenue from smart phones will soar from increase from $53.6m in 2313 to $396.2m in 2019, amounting to an annual growth rate of 39.6 per cent.

“Due to existing hardware capabilities across devices, most of the growth is expected from facial and voice authentication technologies,” said Frost & Sullivan ICT Global Programme Director Jean-Noël Georges.

The goals of mobile device fingerprint technology are the epitome of privacy protection. Mobile fingerprint technology doesn’t spy on users and, by itself, it’s hard to see how it can create commercially valuable information for a third party to sell. It is put in place to make the “always on,” web-connected pocket computer a more secure platform from which to perform the functions financial institutions and users seem to want.

Dick Dastardly – not a banker or 
biometrics executive

The other two biometric technologies mentioned by the author, face and voice recognition, would perhaps be easier to abuse by a third party. The more acute risk to individual privacy associated with mobile biometrics, however comes not from a bunch of moustache-twirling banks and biometrics companies, but from flippy birds and fuzzy bunnies, or downloaded apps accessing onboard biometric technology for no other reason than to sell on to its customers the information gleaned. But that type of privacy risk is inherent in mobile technology. With its location services, cameras, microphones, wifi, NFC and bluetooth, modern mobile devices already contain an astonishing array of sensors and communications devices waiting to be abused or used in ways consumers don’t necessarily anticipate, and that’s happening right now.

Biometrics didn’t create this situation but they might be able to help.

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