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

  • Spiders eat more than humanity’s total weight every year: study

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Spiders have been known to carry some of the world’s deadliest venoms, eat their mates, produce silk strong than steel, and even grow the size of a small puppy. As if all that isn’t terrifying enough, new research suggests the global spider population could theoretically devour every human on earth in a single year. Source
  • Samsung hopes Galaxy S8 will reinvigorate company after combustible Note 7 [Photos] [Video]

    Tech & Science Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Samsung seems to be playing it safe with its first major smartphone since the embarrassing recall of its fire-prone Note 7. The Galaxy S8 features a larger display than its predecessor, the Galaxy S7, and sports a voice assistant intended to rival Siri and Google Assistant. Source
  • Windows 10 update will bring 3-D, game tools and doodling

    Tech & Science CBC News
    A major update to Microsoft's Windows 10 system will start reaching consumers and businesses on April 11, offering 3-D drawing tools, game-broadcasting capabilities and better ways to manage web browsing. This "Creators Update" also aims to make future updates less disruptive. Source
  • Samsung hopes Galaxy S8 will reinvigorate company after combustible Note 7 [Photos]

    Tech & Science Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Samsung seems to be playing it safe with its first major smartphone since the embarrassing recall of its fire-prone Note 7. The Galaxy S8 features a larger display than its predecessor, the Galaxy S7, and sports a voice assistant intended to rival Siri and Google Assistant. Source
  • House hearing on climate science focuses on name calling

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Climate science and politics too often reverts into name calling and bullying, which can get in the way of real work. That was the only thing House Science Committee members, three scientists who often clash with mainstream science and a prominent climate scientist could agree to at a contentious hearing Wednesday. Source
  • Windows update will bring 3D, game tools and less clutter

    Tech & Science CTV News
    NEW YORK -- A major update to Microsoft's Windows 10 system will start reaching consumers and businesses on April 11, offering 3-D drawing tools, game-broadcasting capabilities and better ways to manage your web browsing. This "Creators Update" also aims to make future updates less disruptive. Source
  • Samsung's Galaxy S8 phone aims to dispel the Note 7 debacle

    Tech & Science CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Samsung seems to be playing it safe with its first major smartphone since the embarrassing recall of its fire-prone Note 7. The Galaxy S8 features a larger display than its predecessor, the Galaxy S7, and sports a voice assistant intended to rival Siri and Google Assistant. Source
  • How North Korea hides massive nuclear bomb tests

    Tech & Science CTV News
    TOKYO -- Let's say you're North Korea and you have this nuclear device you really want to test. And let's say you'd rather some of the more sensitive details remain private. Physicists, geologists, imagery analysts, some of the best militaries in the world, monitoring posts set up by non-proliferation organizations -- beating the technology arrayed against you will be no mean feat. Source
  • The argument for robot 'personhood'

    Tech & Science CBC News
    What are the rights of a robot? Does it have any? Should it? It's a question few of us have given much thought to, outside of a Friday night curled up in front of a science fiction movie. Source
  • Netherlands town installs traffic lights for pedestrians walking and texting

    Tech & Science CBC News
    It's dubbed "wexting" — walking while texting. So-called distracted walking can certainly be annoying, and some argue it's a public safety hazard. Now, a small town in the Netherlands is testing a novel approach to address those safety concerns. Source