It has been the norm for biometric technologies to be driven by governmental authorities purportedly keen to control criminal and terrorist individuals, as well as to leverage medical, economic and technological benefits. However a new reverse type trend now seems to be taking root: the preference of consumers to willingly embrace the access of secure online sites, devices and information via biometrics.
According to Larry Barrett’s comments published by zdnet.com, “The relentless consumerization of enterprise IT policies and practices will extend to mobile device security over the next few years as more and more companies turn to biometric authentication technologies to lock down corporate data and devices.
A new Gartner report predicts that at least 30 percent of organizations will use technology similar to the Touch ID feature on the latest iteration of the iPhone to efficiently and effectively secure and manage mobile devices connected to their networks without irritating users in the process.”
"Mobile users staunchly resist authentication methods that were tolerable on PCs and are still needed to bolster secure access on mobile devices," Ant Allan, a Gartner research vice president, said in the report. "Security leaders must manage users' expectations and take into account the user experience without comprising security."
Gartner reportedly recommends that IT security leaders implement and evaluate biometric authentication methods where "higher-assurance" authentication is required, and that they should be used in conjunction with passwords.
Voice recognition, face topography, interface interactivity and iris structure are among the authentication modes companies should explore to improve security without significantly impacting user behavior.
For example, users who have become accustomed to using their mobile devices to securely make purchases are said to “expect nothing less when they bring those devices to work or use company-issued smartphones and tablets”.
Traditional PC authentication and access methods such as the use of usernames, email addresses and other special code identifiers in addition to passwords now seem to be so outdated and cumbersome. Why bother going through those tedious processes when biometric solutions can grant access much faster and more securely?
Apparently, consumer appetites for more biometric options and enhancements have been further whetted by a taste of the latest available smartphone features.
In relation to these developments, Larry also makes reference to a recent Ericsson survey of more than 100,000 mobile users worldwide. The survey revealed that 74 percent of respondents expect biometric smartphones to become mainstream this year.
Some would wonder if biometrics can actually become globally widespread and enforceable. In their thinking, much of the non-Western world is too far behind technologically for this to happen. However, the latest reports from around the world disprove this notion. A few recent examples illustrate the point:
- February 19th: Uzbekistan's citizens will travel abroad only by biometric passports as of July 1, 2014. The news was announced in a governmental decree on "Measures on Improving Uzbek citizens' Traveling Abroad". Plane and railway tickets for them will be formalized and sold on the basis of biometric passports.
- February 17th: Nairobi, Kenya: MPs could lose jobs if new biometric system exposes rate of absenteeism.
- February 17th: The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has given all banks 18 months to begin and conclude the biometric registration of all customers across the country.
- February 10th: Two hundred-thousand Israelis have applied for biometric identity cards or ePassports, following last year’s launch of a biometric database pilot program in the Middle Eastern country. According to a report in the Yeshiva World News, officials have said that more than 50% of the visitors to ministry offices come looking to opt in (voluntarily request) for biometrics.
- February 7th: The largest biometric program in history – collecting iris and fingerprint patterns of 1.2 billion people in three years – aims to improve the quality of life for some of India's most disadvantaged and marginalized citizens by "giving the poor an identity."
Could the timing of all these, and other biometric initiatives and events be a mere co-incidence, or are we witnessing a coordinated, concerted and accelerated effort to ensure that all “small and great, rich and poor, free and bond” are fully identifiable and trackable as soon as possible?
It certainly helps the globalists to know that the fears and suspicions surrounding biometrics seem to be wearing off on the general populace.