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Advantages/Disadvantages of Biometrics

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By dteyes
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As technology continues to grow, the need for security and protection of private information continues to reach new levels. New approaches to prevent crimes such as identity theft and other cyber crimes are constantly being explored. One of the approaches being explored is biometrics. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, biometrics is “the measurement and analysis of unique physical or behavioral characteristics (as fingerprint or voice patterns) especially as a means of verifying personal identity” (2013). Biometrics can play an important role in identifying individuals and protecting information. However, privacy concerns are raised by advocates that argue people’s privacy will be violated as well other concerns regarding privacy and security. Biometric systems have not reached their full potential and new purposes for these systems continue to be explored and implemented. Banks all over the world are installing security systems that require some form of personal identification trait such as voice recognition on ATMs. Not only for security, biometrics is being used for a variety of different reasons that range from banking to gaming. In gaming, the Xbox One that was recently launched included an improved version of their Kinect motion-sensing device that will also be able to recognize facial features and identify individuals. Overall, the future of biometrics in technology appears to be taking great steps in becoming integrated in our everyday lives. One of the most important reasons to explore biometric security is to prevent crimes that affect a large portion of the population. The growth of the Internet and the exponential rise of consumer services like online shopping have created many opportunities for criminals. Crimes such as identity theft have grown significantly, which has caused the government and organizations to take action in trying to protect consumers. Identity theft has grown so much that according to Clay Matthews, some studies estimate “more than 11.6 million adults becoming the victim of identity theft in the United States” (2013). Even though penalties are in place to punish criminals, the crime continues to grow and affect citizens in the United States. Identity fraud is not only affecting consumers but is currently impacting employers when it comes to hiring employees. For example, the law in the country mandates that employers identify individuals “as U.S. citizen based on Social Security card and Permanent Resident ID card” (Edo, G., & Braxton-Lieber, S., 2013, p. 114). However, documents like Social Security cards are easily forged by criminals and make it difficult for employers to identify. Identification methods such as E-Verify, which was developed by the federal government, have been implemented but found to be ineffective due to the dependency of the actual document instead of the actual identity of the individual. Crimes such as identity theft and identity fraud have led people to search for answers by exploring new methods in biometrics.
Biometrics can help solve some of the security and privacy issues affecting the technology world today. There are several ways biometrics can be implemented as security measures to identify individuals. An example of how biometrics is being used is the new iPhone 5s, which has a fingerprint scanner that memorizes and recognizes the user’s fingerprint to unlock the phone. Another examples of where biometric technology is being introduced are social networking sites like Facebook. On Facebook there is a feature that automatically identifies faces of uploaded pictures and allows users to tag people by comparing photos. Lots of users find the progress made through the implementation of these technological advancements to be beneficial and in general appear to be harmless.
However, there are many privacy concerns raised by opponents who view biometric security as an invasion of privacy. One of these concerns is the view that facial recognition technology will not only be used to monitor suspects but every individual in a public place. According to Laas-Mikko, K., & Sutrop, M., ethical concerns are also raised since “this technology is used to survey persons’ behavior in secured areas and detect abnormal behavior and events, as a result huge amounts of personal data are processed and collected into databases” (2012, p. 376). This means that it is possible for a person’s behavior can be analyzed and therefore their information can be used for other purposes without their consent. Laas-Mikko, K., & Sutrop, M. argue that by implementing these measures we may feel more secure from crime and terrorist attacks, but on the other hand, “there is an increased possibility of stigmatization and discrimination on the basis of false interpretation of biometric characteristics” (2012, p. 376). The ethical concern that is raised violates privacy but arguments can be made that is necessary for security and protection.
Another concern that is raised regarding privacy is a trust issue with the public. According to Edo, G., & Braxton-Lieber, S. (2013), people may be willing to share their information if they know how their information will be collected, where it will be stored, and how it will be used (p. 125). There has to be rules and regulations in place that the public will need to be aware of in order to get the full acceptance of biometric systems. There are still quite a few more concerns regarding the implementation of such systems that require further research.
Biometric systems can be beneficial to everyone as long as the proper steps are taken in assuring the public’s privacy is respected. When it comes to services such as banking and identity protection, there is little doubt that biometric systems such as retina scans can greatly assist an individual. Even though biometric systems are not fool proof and concerns still warrant resolutions, the future for biometric systems in technology appears to be promising.

References
Edo, G., & Braxton-Lieber, S. (2013). Perceptions of biometric experts on whether or not biometric modalities will combat identity fraud. Research In Business & Economics Journal, 7110-135.

Laas-Mikko, K., & Sutrop, M. (2012). How do violations of privacy and moral autonomy threaten the basis of our democracy?. Trames: A Journal Of The Humanities &
Social Sciences, 16(4), 369-381. doi:10.3176/tr.2012.4.05

Mathews, R. (2013). International identity theft: how the internet revolutionized identity theft and the approaches the world’s nations are taking to combat it. Florida Journal Of International Law, 25(2), 311-329.…...

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