You’re probably already using biometric technology on a regular basis, even if you aren’t aware of it. According to ExpressVPN, biometric is the use of distinct biological features, like fingerprints, facial structure, or even voice, to determine or confirm identity. If you use a thumbprint to unlock your phone or let your laptop read your face to allow access, you’re using biometrics.
Yes, the use of biometrics can make getting into your favorite device faster and more convenient. But is it everything it’s cracked up to be? There are some definite pros and cons to consider when using biometrics.
Current Trends and What’s to Come with Biometrics
Biometrics are starting to make their way into more public arenas. Once reserved for high-level security needs, like scientific labs and government buildings, an automated identity confirmation is making its way into airports, regular places of employment, and academic campuses.
This means you may soon be able to skip rooting through your wallet for your identification. But, it also means more people are going to have access to your biometric data. Not surprisingly, the more integrated biometrics systems become, the greater the need for universal storage space to keep the data in.
As a result, one major trend we’re seeing now is biometrics moving toward cloud-based storage. This means the biometric information is not stored on a particular device, but rather in a cloud that many devices can tap into and retrieve your information from. One bonus to this storage approach is that your biometrics can be used in many different places, often with minimal or no setup on your end.
In addition to cloud-based storage, a major trend in biometrics right now is considering new ways that distinct personal information can be used. Some of these approaches include studying and using behavioral biometrics. Behavioral biometrics move beyond the physical and consider personal mannerisms and markers, like gait or gestures, to identify a person.
It’s not just people who are reaping benefits from biometric advancements, either. There are new apps and programs that use pets’ biometrics — like their nose prints — to identify who they belong to if they get lost. More reliable than microchipping and with instant access without a chip reader, it’s making waves in the pet industry.
The Pros and Cons of Embracing Biometrics
The pros of biometrics are clear — faster confirmation of your identity that can be used anywhere. You can also say goodbye to forgetting and resetting your passwords. Improved security is also one of the benefits that come with using biometrics.
Unfortunately, it’s not all good. While a world without dealing with forgotten passwords sounds pretty good, the advent of biometrics is not going to eliminate hackers and thieves. Instead of disappearing, they’ll find ways to access and steal your biometrics. To be frank, dealing with a compromised account or password is a much easier task than dealing with stolen biometrics. After all, you can’t easily change your voice, your face, or your fingerprints.
As we move toward cloud-based storage, which, in many ways, makes large-scale implementation of biometric security possible, that risk grows. Just like we experience data breaches at big companies now, we can anticipate data breaches of large databases containing biometric data.
While biometrics can make us feel safer, it may also not identify dangerous people it should. This is because biometric technology can be fooled. Oversized glasses, face masks, hats, and even avoiding the cameras altogether can lead to a person going unrecognized and unidentified.
Final Thoughts on the Future of Biometrics
There’s one final, very big, concern we haven’t discussed yet. And it’s one that should be at the forefront of our thoughts as we move forward with biometrics. It’s quickly become apparent that this technology can be used in ways that infringe on personal privacy.
We like the idea of being able to quickly identify dangerous suspects evading the police. But, it’s uncomfortable to think about how the only way that’s possible is by having our own image captured and analyzed during daily activities: driving to the library, walking out of your favorite coffee shop, or shopping for your groceries.
Biometric technology is gaining traction though, so it’s best to be prepared. Use and store yours wisely and always choose multi-factor authentication when possible. For better security, always use secure networks you know and trust and keep your security protocols up to date.