The Evolution Of Identity: Problem Passwords And Burgeoning Biometrics

OPINION: Passwords are yesterday’s technology, biometrics are the future, argues Experian’s head of identity and fraud

Three in five (61 percent) believe biometric identification is just as secure, or even more secure, than the current system of passwords – including anything from emails and social media, to banking and pension log-ins. 

 Of course some people have concerns over privacy – and want clear guidelines around responsible use, and as the concept of biometrics develops, this will increasingly become a necessity. 

In a recent Experian hosted debate, some respondents had fears about biometric privacy whilst others had concerns over other data sources. For example, DNA profiling, which gives away more about an individual than data points alone. 

Privacy and biometrics – the people’s view 

In addition, less than one in five (19 percent) people stated they are willing to have their ID verified in this way. Similarly, less than one in ten (9 percent) would be comfortable with camera facial recognition as a form of identification, while just one in twenty (5 percent) say they’d be happy using voice recognition technology to unlock their online accounts.

biometric hand

 Willingness to adopt biometrics is increasing as they are already becoming a factor in everyday life, spearheaded by the inclusion of fingerprint scanners on newer smartphone models. Fingerprint scanning is the most comfortable area with nearly half (40 percent), saying they would be happy relying on it – and a large part of society is already using it.  

This perception however may be a result of it being a ‘tried and tested’ method – as fingerprint scanning is a common access tool already – even if it is in its infancy of use.  71% think that biometrics are as secure as the current system of passwords. 

 In the future, biometric data will form part of an individual’s personally identifiable information. This will have social repercussions as people are likely to attach more emotion to this type of data. 

Organisations storing biometric data will need to meet robust security standards similar to those already placed upon the payment card industry today. The best route to using biometrics is to add it to the identity and fraud armoury, making it another element in a multi-layered strategy. 

Right now people are still wary of biometrics: Does it give too much away? But people are voting with their fingers – millions are already using fingerprint to secure their phones. 

Fraudsters and criminals will also try and find the easiest route in to commit an act of fraud. As a result, those organisations without advanced security and access technology are at the most risk.  

In contrary to voice, research shows that fingerprint scanning is a biometric identification that most UK adults are comfortable with – and 40 percent stated they would feel happy relying on this as a means of accessing their accounts. With less than 1 in 5 keen on retinal scans and less than 1 in 10 comfortable with camera facial recognition. Perhaps the majority of people feel these means are more intrusive? 

Quiz: What do you know about biometric security?