Finger goes in, Coke comes out

August 31, 2009 at 2:00 am Leave a comment

Downwards by you.Talk about putting your hand in the cookie jar – now, you can just put your finger in a vending machine and buy a Mars bar or packet of crisps. Forget money – cash is just sooooooooooo 20th Century.

Hitachi has a new vending machine. I’m sure they’re very proud of it. You might get all lathered up with excitement over this. But I just shake my head as I ponder the increasing rate of biometric identification that’s being pushed on us all.  In the future, you will be able to purchase a Coke or Mars Bar by jabbing your finger into Hitachi’s vending machine. This machine “uses light to scan and read the number and orientation of veins in your finger tip without directly touching a sensor”.

Presumably, your eyeballs and fingerprints will be scanned beforehand and linked to your credit card number, giving the vending machine access to your account and swipe money.

All pretty sinister if you ask me. And it’s a recipe for budgeting disaster. We have wallets and bank accounts with money in them. If you’re like me, you draw out a certain amount of cash each week and stick to that budget. But if wallets and money become quaint relics of the past, then all you’ll need to do is swipe your finger or have your eyeball scanned and voila! you can party up on the credit-card. No doubt many of you are cautious with credit card purchases but many of us are not – we think, okay gotta have that. Yep, put it on the card and worry about paying it later.

Apparently, the biometrics industry is even considering turning your ear into your password and running security checks by scanning your brain stem.

Well, just as I asked you the other day to think about Google, I’m going to ask you to think of biometric identification. Yep, it’s quick and easy. Scan, swipe, breeze through immigration. Scan, swipe, get the Mars Bar.  But:

  • do you realise that biometrics is prone to recognition errors?
  • your eyeballs and fingerprints are unique. But what if your biometric data becomes compromised. How do you then prove you are who you are?
  • there are 7 main areas where attacks may occur in a biometric system.
  • I would suggest that determined hackers and cyber-crims will find ways to access your biometric data. The crims steal your biometric data; you can’t access your house or your car or buy food. You go to the police and after bringing up your biometric data they find you are a wanted criminal because your data has been altered by the crims. Welcome to your very own Kafkaesque nightmare.

You can read more about the flaws of biometrics here.

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Entry filed under: Biometric identification, Surveillance society.

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