Why you should be afraid of payments using biometrics

payments using biometrics A report today by The Guardian describes a situation whereby a visitor to Disneyland had a slightly disturbing experience. He went on a ride with his girlfriend and a photo was taken – nothing strange there. But when he was offered to purchase the photo after getting off the ride, it emerged that Disneyland already had his credit card information "linked" to the photo. The assumption, since the park staff did not know their names or any of their information, is that facial recognition technology must have been used in order to identify them and then get their bank details.

As unlikely as this sounds, a number of sources back up the story. One ‘alternative news site', Occupy Corporatism, states that the technology used in Disney's facial recognition technology is akin to that used to ‘tag' people on Facebook or on some smartphones. In statements, Disneyland say that the reason for facial recognition technology, and also the fingerprint technology they use, is to prevent "ticket fraud or resale", but the thought of Disneyland having records of the fingerprints and faces of the millions of visitors they have ever year does make some a bit uncomfortable.

The Guardian article does go on to say that the data stored from the facial recognition technology has been shared with the US military and there is a contract between Indentix and the US government. There are also records of similar technology being used in parts of the US and China, attached to lampposts – so the chances are they are already gathering data themselves. Whether or not it is a good thing to link biometrics with our bank details remains to be seen. Some say it may increase security, but others just find it invasive.


What do you think? Is this kind of technology intrusive or convenient?

To learn about the payments industry in general, including innovation and future trends, you may be interested to attend the 3 Day MBA in Payments, running in Dubai, 4th – 6th December 2012. If that is inconvenient, there are also some dates in 2013 in London and Dubai.

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