October 1, 2013

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Identity Theft: Inevitable With Fingerprint Scanners?

Identity theft was the last thing I thought of when I learned that the new iPhone 5S would rollout with Touch Id, Apple’s new fingerprint scanner technology. Fingerprint scanning is one of many biometric tools that uses physical or behavioral attributes to verify a person’s identity. Biometrics technology currently in the headlines includes retinal scans, voice recognition, blood work, heart rhythm, and strangest of all, brainwaves.

Identity Theft Risk On The New iPhone 5S

I’m usually one of the first of my friends to embrace new tools or apps that promise to make my life easier. The new iPhone 5S was no exception; I couldn’t wait to upgrade. That was until I read a recent article on Mashable about a group of hackers that claimed to have “cracked” the new fingerprint scanning technology. It hadn’t occurred to me that my identity could be stolen.  I’d gone from imagining the “four seconds” I’d save every time I swiped the new fingerprint scanner (too many times a day to count), to thinking, “Oh, oh.”

Whether my fingerprint is stored locally on a device, or somewhere on a cloud (which is worst), makes little difference to me. I’d still be parting with a unique part of my identity, making it potentially accessible to criminals.

Absurd, isn’t it? When did unlocking an electronic device with a four-digit code become so much of a burden? I guess you could say I’m a just a little concerned about the possibilities. It’s one thing to be able to reset a password, should it be stolen. Resetting a fingerprint, well, that’s a different story.

What do you think about the new fingerprint scanning technology released on the iPhone 5S? Do you worry that your fingerprint could be stolen, leading to more sophisticated identity theft schemes?

Will you, or have you adopted this new technology? What do you think?

 

 

Ezzy Languzzi

Ezzy is a working mother and educator. She writes from the perspective of a parent seeking to strike a balance between all that technology has to offer and its privacy implications. Ezzy lives in Boston with her husband, son, two dogs, and two chickens.

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