By Susanne Posel
Retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target and Costco are utilizing biometric identification for accurate management of goods, while hoping to incorporate the biometric checkout where customers can use their fingerprint or retina to pay for their items without having to use their credit/debit cards or write a check.
By having employees scan their fingerprints into a corporate database, retail corporations can reduce theft and eliminate payroll confusion; however this initiative is really about collecting biometric data to store and use at a later date.
Perhaps customers could wave their smartphone over a scanner to be identified at a retail store without having to use their eyes or hands.
IBM has developed fingerprint scan pads for ThinkPad Notebooks; however the next generation of biometric technology is still being developed in laboratories in universities and privately-funded institutions across the globe.
Steve Mansfield, vice president of marketing for AuthenTec, anticipates the use of fingerprint scanners as a stand security device for new computers and used for security on cell phones.
AuthenTec provides biometric fingerprint-enabled mobile phone security to top corporations such as LG Electronics and Fujitsu.
The TouchChip is a silicon sensor that can be used by governments and civilians that scans a fingerprint for biometric identification which is certified by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
Fujitsu’s PalmSecure system can be used for identification purposes by having a person swipe their hand over the scanner which reads its intricate design and then authenticates the user. PlamSecure takes an infrared image of the palm to distinguish the unique patterns of veins in an individual’s hand. This information is stored in a database for future reference.
Hopeful application of PalmSecure could be for consumer purposes in lieu of using a wallet.
GooglePlay uses FingerPrint Lock which is a downloadable app that uses biometrics to identify the user to the Android like any other fingerprint reader.
Andreas Bulling, scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Information has developed the SideWays system (SWS) that will monitor eye movements of customers in retail stores to better advertise. SWS can be used by looking to the left or right of a touch screen to move up or down while browsing items. Unlike previous systems, SWS can handle multiple users monitoring eye movements by data basing 14 different user’s height, age and eye color to calibrate to each individual person.
Bulling wrote a paper detailing SWS as “a novel person-independent eye gaze interface that supports spontaneous interaction with displays. Users can just walk up to a display and immediately interact using their eyes, without any prior user calibration or training.”
SWS use a standard camera and image processing software to track eye movements. This technology is expected “to become available widely in the near future.”
Although this technology is now being utilized and designed for retailers, it could easily be assimilated into governmental surveillance operations.
The FBI wants to fine technology corporations that do not comply with interception requests.
Corporations such as Facebook, Instagram, Apple, Microsoft, SnapChat, WhatsApp, Yahoo and Google would be under the thumb of a federal task force that oversees wiretap orders and court authorizations for governmental digital spying on suspects.
Law enforcement could conduct surveillance on encrypted communications to give police and federal agents backdoor access to technology in the name of intellectual property rights or gathering intelligence on criminals.
Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google explained that governments are the biggest threat to online privacy because of their constant requests for information on users and data mining.
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