Privacy, the main roadblock to incorporating biometrics into wearable technology

Concerns about the privacy of biometric data stored in the cloud must be addressed as adoption becomes more mainstream, a recent research shows.

Some 63 percent of surveyed biometric professionals say enabling police to identify known or suspected criminals or terrorists is the most appropriate opportunity to incorporate biometrics into wearable technology – with far less support for consumers using smart watches to authenticate payments (19 percent) or using biometrics to control access to data captured by wearable devices (14 percent).

Respondents say facial recognition is the most appropriate biometric modality for wearable technology, followed by voice identification. And wristbands (52 percent), watches (19 percent) and lapel badges (15 percent) are the wearable formats best suited for biometrics.

However, concern over the privacy of biometric information stored on the cloud is the most significant roadblock to incorporating biometrics into wearable technology (79 percent). Technology, format and cost are not generally viewed as impediments.

“As with most security measures, communication about how information is obtained, used and secured, for what purpose and for whose benefit, is key to gaining public acceptance,” said John Kendall, director border and national security programs at Unisys. “While there was some initial pushback against early smart glasses using facial recognition in consumer products, the research has found the public will support facial recognition technology used by police and border security officers so we can expect to see these formats re-emerge in law enforcement applications.”

The survey of 54 biometrics professionals was conducted by Unisys.

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