EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


October 21, 2012

Biometric IDs advancing

Benefits extolled, but technologies worry privacy advocates


A car salesman snapping your image could “infer your credit score the moment you enter the dealership and use a psychological profile (also calculated in real time from your online posts) to nudge you to accept a steep price for the car you wanted,” Carnegie Mellon professor Alessandro Acquisti testified.

Similar worries were expressed in April by a European Commission study, which concluded that such technologies “could put an end to anonymity.”

INTEREST IN BIOMETRICS: Technologies that can confirm people's identities through their physical or behavioral characteristics have caught the attention of several prominent local companies. Among them: --Hewlett-Packard: It offers a fingerprint sensor for accessing some personal computers. --Apple: In July, it bought AuthenTec, whose fingerprint sensors are used in phones and buildings. Apple last year also obtained a patent for face-recognition technology. --Intel: Considering the technologies as alternatives to house and car keys, the chipmaker described voice, face and "gesture" recognition capabilities at a software conference on Tuesday. It also just bought Israeli-based IDesia Biometrics, whose technology enables PCs to recognize users by their heartbeats.

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