Quoted: Privacy and security in the age of tracking, iris scanning and biometrics

“People are being tracked, their every move, their purchasing, their habits, where they are every day, through credit card transactions, through advantage cards — if someone really wanted to know what you were doing every moment of the day, they don’t need facial recognition or iris recognition to do that. That’s already out there.”

Marios Savvides, a Carnegie Mellon engineering professor who has invented a long-range iris scanner, when asked about his technology’s security and privacy implications.

What Savvides is interested in are the potential positive uses, such as identifying dangerous criminals before cops approach them.

When asked about how governments might use the tool to track political dissidents, Savvides talks about the technology’s potential in fighting against human trafficking.

In some places, close-range iris scanning is already in use as government IDs — of course, viewing that as positive depends on where you stand — or as replacements for computer passwords.

In other privacy concerns related to biometrics, a founder of a heartbeat-reading startup has warned of potential “sinister” uses for the technology. CNet quotes David Plans, a founder of BioBeats, which makes the Breathing Stone, a device that records heart rate and breathing and plays music accordingly to ease anxiety:

In a twist he describes as “Orwellian”, he claims that “some of the insurance providers we work with want to calculate insurance premiums in real-time,” which he sees as problematic.

 

Photo illustration from Thinkstock

 

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