Biometrics a 'creepy' trade-off between privacy, convenience: expert

Biometric identification is advancing faster than the law can keep up with, and people's privacy is at risk because of it, according to a Canadian university professor.

See Full Article

Tom Keenan, author of the book "Technocreep," says smart technologies are quickly accumulating a vast quantity of data that can leave people vulnerable to advertisers, insurance companies, and even hackers. And with new technologies emerging at a rapid pace, it's becoming increasingly difficult for regulators to keep track of all the ways personal data is being collected.

Fingerprint recognition is already used with many smartphones. Some smart devices, like the Nimi band, can recognize a person's heartbeat. And facial recognition and retinal scan software are the wave of the future, according to Keenan.

Researchers have also cooked up a "password pill" that people can swallow to unlock all their personal devices, and a temporary tattoo that can track a person's biometric data.

"There's no way society can keep up with this," Keenan told CTV Calgary on Monday.

Keenan, a digital design professor at the University of Calgary, says biometric identification is becoming a trade-off between convenience and personal privacy.

"Somebody with enough data processing power – which is dirt cheap right now – can go out there and follow everything that you do," he said.

Keenan suggests an insurance company could use a person's biometric data to determine whether or not to insure them. An advertiser could also use that data to deliver targeted ads to a person, or track their activities at all times.

"If they get that data, what are they going to do with it? Will they use it against you? Will they sell it?" Keenan said.

"Next time you go into the Wal-Mart, maybe it knows as you walk in there that you're pre-diabetic… and suddenly you start being manipulated."

Keenan suggests, without proper laws to govern the collection of biometric data, governments or private companies might soon know more about you than you do yourself.



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • D.C. zoo officials hoping get panda Mei Xiang pregnant again

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Zoo officials in Washington are hoping to get panda mom Mei Xiang pregnant -- again. Smithsonian National Zoo officials say they performed two artificial inseminations Thursday on 18-year-old Mei Xiang. Officials say they were closely monitoring her for when to do the procedure. Source
  • Using the wrong emoji can cost you — literally

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Imagine if an emoji — one casually fired off in a text-message conversation — ended up costing the sender thousands of dollars. Or $3,000, to be exact. That's what happened in Israel recently, after a judge determined that a message containing a string of emojis conveyed clear intent. Source
  • Yukon looks to preserve and manage grizzly bear population

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Grizzly bears are generally doing "quite well" in Yukon, according to government biologist Tom Jung — and wildlife officials are aiming to keep it that way. The territorial government is developing a conservation and management plan for the species, and it's asking Yukoners to weigh in on what that plan might look like. Source
  • 'Aggressive' coyotes close down Calgary greenspace

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Officials in Calgary have shut down a greenspace in the Panorama Hills area of the city after complaints about aggressive coyotes. Area resident Gavin de Jong, who has young children, says the coyotes seem particularly aggressive this year. Source
  • NASA'S Juno spacecraft finds chaotic weather, massive cyclones over Jupiter's poles

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Once it began skimming the giant gas planet's cloud tops last year, NASA's Juno spacecraft spotted chaotic weather, including enormous cyclones over Jupiter's poles, according to new research. Scientists released their first major findings Thursday. "What we've learned so far is earth-shattering. Source
  • New research reveals what happens when adults learn to read

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Learning to read is hard when you are a kid, and even harder as an adult. New research published Wednesday in Science Advances has revealed what your brain is doing when you learn to read as an adult, and found that brain regions associated with ancient functions are largely responsible for our ability to read. Source
  • Forecasters predict above-normal Atlantic hurricane season

    Tech & Science CTV News
    MIAMI -- Warm ocean waters could fuel an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season, while storm-suppressing El Nino conditions are expected to be scarce, U.S. government forecasters said Thursday. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast calls for 11 to 17 named storms, with five to nine hurricanes. Source
  • Google AI wins 2nd game against Chinese go champion

    Tech & Science CBC News
    A computer beat China's top player of go, one of the last games machines have yet to master, for a second time Thursday in a competition authorities limited the Chinese public's ability to see. Ke Jie lost despite playing what Google's AlphaGo indicated was the best game any opponent has played against it, said Demis Hassabis, founder of the company that developed the program. Source
  • Honeybee losses in U.S. decline, but some warn too early to celebrate

    Tech & Science CBC News
    There's a glimmer of hope for America's ailing honeybees as winter losses were the lowest in more than a decade, according to a U.S. survey of beekeepers released Thursday. Beekeepers lost 21 per cent of their colonies over last winter, the annual Bee Informed Partnership survey found. Source
  • U.S. honeybee losses improve from horrible to bad

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- There's a glimmer of hope for America's ailing honeybees as winter losses were the lowest in more than a decade, according to a U.S. survey of beekeepers released Thursday. Beekeepers lost 21 per cent of their colonies over last winter, the annual Bee Informed Partnership survey found. Source