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Your Take: Would Biometrics for Authentication Bother You?

Biometrics, loosely defined as the process of using a person’s physical characteristics for identification, is slowly gaining popularity and their use may soon extend to credit cards. Privacy is always a hot button concern in the US, just think back to when AOL released all that search data, and the collection and storage of your physical characters, one of the most personal of things, is something that probably would both a lot of people. So I’m curious, if biometric data were required, would it bother you? If it was optional, would you elect it?

I have mixed feelings on this. I’m not a gung-ho privacy advocate in some aspects and conservative in others. For example, I’m comfortable with people being able to see the websites I surf but I don’t want my information stored somewhere if it’s not absolutely necessary. I can see the value of using biometrics as a means of authentication and so would definitely elect to “activate” any biometric-related security features. It’s easy to fake a signature, it’s much harder to fake a fingerprint or retina scan.

As you probably suspected, one of the places where biometric authentication has become pretty popular is Japan (they get all the cool gadgets and gizmos before we do!). One of the reasons is because in Japan you can generally withdraw from the ATM the equivalent of thousands of dollars each day, so the higher security measures are required. Granted, this is the bank, which knows all your financial information anyway, but it’s an example of how biometrics have been rolled out and accepted.

So, what are your thoughts?