Would you give your bank card PIN number to a nurse or a receptionist at your local GP’s surgery? If you were involved in an accident, apart from the doctors and nurses who help you, what about the people who clean the debris off the road or the ambulance driver? What if you were in a crowded place and felt a small pin prick sensation on your arm? Maybe this all sounds a bit too far-fetched? The problem is, if someone has thought about it, then the chances are it’s already being planned and dealt with. What if any one of these examples is tantamount to giving potential hackers direct access to you bank account?
At any point in time human beings rely on ‘currency’ in some form or another i.e. having something you do not just own, but have in your possession, that is of value to someone else. Furthermore, a currency does not just rely on physically having control of a possession of value, it is useless without transportation of some description. That is to say, if you have an item, whether it is a £50 note, a computer you’re looking to sell, or even an online account with funds in it; it is all worthless unless you can transport, or transfer, ownership to someone else. To take an extreme example, if you want to sell your house to release some capital, having the house and agreeing to sell it is pointless unless you sign on the dotted line and exchange deeds. It seems obvious right? Well it sort of is, at least the problem is. The solution is a little more complicated.
So, going back to those graphic examples at the beginning, the development of biometric systems will mean your blood could easily satisfy the definition of a currency just like any other. Think about it, we know it can be transported, so that’s the first box ticked, and if we assume most people have a bank account with money in it, then it is also valuable. That is, if your bank account can be accessed using biometric data from your DNA or blood samples. Which if it isn’t now, is certainly going to be in the not too distant future in some form or another.
These concerns have given rise to various schools of analysis covering a topic of something now called “biometric spoofing”. It is as the name suggests. It is the use of biometric data gathered from sources such as fingerprints, facial recognition, blood samples and iris recognition (to name just a few), to securely identify an individual and verify access. Academic studies both here and in the US as well as countries in Europe such as Sweden are trying to analyse the potential consequences of security breaches which may well ensue. At the same time, the enemy they are fighting is not just the ‘spoofer’ or the ‘hacker’, it is time itself. As technology grows at a faster and exponential pace, then scientists and strategists are going to struggle to keep pace with these changes. In industries or organisations where security is paramount to human safety, it is not enough to analyse the consequences of the steep exponential growth curve. Instead, it must do all it can to stay ahead of it. In this article we examine some of the relevant data associated with this topic and the possible implications. Read More.