Biometrics in the enterprise: An opportunity or an ethical minefield?
Biometric technology is nothing new, but as it becomes cheaper and better quality, tools such as facial , voice and fingerprint recognition are coming into everyday use. Supporters promise a new level of security with a technology that many smartphone users are already familiar with. But there are plenty of concerns too, not least around the privacy and ethical issues of using systems that could bring fears of mass surveillance, especially when allied with emerging artificial intelligence methods.
The UK government is pushing ahead with a biometrics strategy, but negative public responses to police forces trialling facial recognition shows the minefield politicians have to tread. HM Revenue & Customs was forced to delete voice recognition data from five million UK taxpayers after the Information Commissioner found they had been collected unlawfully. Banks are increasingly using biometrics to reduce identity fraud, but are taking a cautious approach to test public satisfaction. There are also worries that some biometric methods unfairly bias against certain ethnic groups.
So is biometric technology ready for use in the enterprise, to help improve IT security? IT leaders need to be aware of the concerns, but in this e-guide we take a look at some of the potential – as well as the risks.