I found a great blog with lots of posts about the newest biometric technologies, uses and such. The site is called ThirdFactor and is actually pretty interesting if you want to check it out.
I was reading this blog and I came across some troubling news. Recently in Australia pubs (bars) have begun collecting biometric data at their entrance in order to keep out troublemakers. The pubs have begun to scan fingerprints, take digital photographs, and scan IDs of their customers before letting them in.
|Coogee Bay Hotel where patrons must accept a biometric scan to be allowed entrance into the pub/club.|
The reasoning behind these scans is the attempt to reduce violence and other inappropriate behavior at the pubs. If someone got in a fight at the pub they could be banned on the database and would not be allowed back in for a select period of time. The pubs can even share ban information between one another by means of a massive database kept by a third party.
So what is so bad about this? It sounds like a noble attempt to reduce violence and in fact it works, reducing one pub’s Alcohol-related incidents by 80 percent. The problem is how the information is regulated: it’s not. Currently Australia does not cover biometrics under privacy laws, thus there is no need for the pubs to treat this information in the sensitive matter it deserves. If pubs are effectively keeping massive databases of people’s fingerprints, faces and ID’s the potential for fraud is enormous if that information were to be hacked or misused.
One major problem with biometrics is that unlike passwords or ID’s they cannot be replaced or changed if they are stolen. You will have your same finger print throughout your life (with some exceptions), and a new one cannot be assigned to you if you have your identity stolen.
People do not even realize how much power they are giving the pubs by giving them their fingerprint and their picture. In effect the pubs have more power than even the police in Australia who are only allowed to scan someone’s biometric information if that person is accused of a crime (and must destroy the data if the person is not convicted).
As one pub goer put it she did not like the scans but “like most people in here, I just agreed to let it happen, so I could come in and join my friends''.
So what do you think about this? How would you react if the next time you hit the town, the bar/club you were going to asked you for your biometric information?