Thursday, October 4, 2012

All about biometrics

Biometrics have been around for a really long time, mostly dealing with security clearance. In the article that I read they bring up a new possible use for biometrics as a payment method instead of having to use cash or credit cards. The idea behind this is that you can just use your hand over a scanner to do essentially what you do with your credit card: access your account. I see this as being the future of banking and the main payment option. 
Hand biometrics are based on the pattern of veins in a persons hand, that pattern  is very unique just like a person’s finger print. All that a person would need is their hand. The technology is really cheap and is already being deployed in a few schools and medical centers in Florida. Currently there is a company that runs is taking the front on this new technology called PalmSecure. A lot of people predict that this will become the new standard, so I am assuming that many more companies will come into the business as this becomes more prevalent. 
I think that this system has a lot of potential in reducing costs for companies, since it is cheaper than the credit card system. Another thing that is helpful to companies is that they don’t have to spend a lot of money to protect the information of their customers, since stealing biometrics is impossible, unlike the numbers of credit cards. Another good thing for the business world is that many small businesses will have the ability to offer more payment methods, since the technology is so cheap. With this the small businesses may have the chance to expand, which they wouldn’t have had earlier. The most interesting thing that I could see this technology being used for other than payments classification of costumers and data mining. People and their information can be stored under their own unique palm id, but the ideas for it being used  in this way are still in the works so the possibilities aren’t completely mapped out. 
So far the only technology that is a rival to the palm scan is the NFC system, but NFCs are more limited considering a person must have their phone on them in order to pay. Also it is less safe from identity theft. Overall the palm scan is more user friendly and the technology for it is slightly less expensive. Also a person would need a phone that has NFC, which would be another limiting factor. The main problem that comes up with any new form of payment is that the banks have already set the credit card system in place which is very profitable to them, so they wont let anything else come and replace the systems. This was seen with the NFC system when it was first introduced. The banks were very reluctant, so the system still has not taken off. 
I think that if the system is allowed to expand that it will be great for companies and people alike. Also people would not have to remember their passwords or account numbers because every thing will be in the palm of their hand.

1 comment:

  1. The topic of Hand Biometrics is a topic of great relevancy and concern to all consumers. The initiative to turn all credit and debit card systems into hand biometric verification payment plans ruffles a few major feathers as well. The beauty of a world with hand biometrics would be no cards, no identity theft, no fraud, and less hassle. On top of these benefits, biometric payment systems are cheap and reasonable for businesses of all sizes. Now why wouldn’t there be biometrics installed everywhere right now?
    Although seeming like a perfect innovation to the credit and debit card world, biometrics is facing an uphill battle. The credit and debit card companies are power houses and make a boatload off of the current systems in place. If biometrics came and knocked them off, billions of dollars would be at stake. When that kind of money is at risk, people get protective and the credit card companies flaunt their power. The credit card companies can make it a difficult process to change from their system to the biometric. The credit card companies could lobby for governmental support to advice possible hygiene risks of biometric systems. The amount of money that could be lost can make the credit card companies stoop to making some dirty moves to sustain power over their industry.
    Aside from the credit companies influence, another problem that needs to be addressed for hand biometrics is security. A lot of people fear having their unique palm and hand print in a system. The information that is unique to them needs to be protected and secure. Imagine if a hacker broke into a database and stole countless handprints. Besides your finances being at risk, you could be subject of being framed or having your information fall into the wrong hands.
    A third problem for the revolution of biometics is sanitation. The hygiene of the scanners used for biometrics could be a major concern for people’s health on all levels. Bioterrorism could become more common by the constant interaction of people’s hands. Basic bacterias can grow and be transported from scanner to scanner by simple consumerism. However, some biometic companies have accounted for this problem: “To counteract the concerns of hygiene, Schlage biometric HandKey and HandPunch readers are available with antimicrobial protection. The coating utilizes ionic silver (AG+), a single atom that is missing one orbital electron. The natural antimicrobial interacts with bonding sites on the microbe surface, slowing the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew” (Mooney).
    The biometric systems would be better for everyone: consumers would not have to rely on identity theft and card systems, businesses of all sizes would benefit, and consumerism would be more efficient. The biometic industry needs to account for these possible problems before they flourish.