2024 & the Inevitable Rise of Biometrics

by Kit Knightly | May 21, 2024

Have you noticed a lot of two-factor authentication prompts lately? Are you getting emailed verification codes that take forever to arrive, so you have to request another?

Perhaps you are asked to do captchas to “prove you’re human” and they seem to be getting more complex all the time or simply not working at all?

Why do you think that might be?

We’ll come back to that.

Did you know we’re in a “breakthrough year” for biometric payment systems?

According to this story from CNBC, JPMorgan and Mastercard are on board with the technology and intend a wide rollout in the near future, following successful trials.

In March this year, JPMorgan signed a deal with PopID to begin a broad release of biometric payment systems in 2025.

A Mastercard spokesman told CNBC:

Our focus on biometrics as a secure way to verify identity, replacing the password with the person, is at the heart of our efforts in this area,”

Apple Pay already lets you pay with a face scan, while Amazon have introduced pay-by-palm in many of their real-world stores.

VISA showcased their latest palm biometric payment set-up at an event in Singapore earlier this year.

As we covered in a recent This Week, PayPal is pushing out its own biometric payment systems in the name of “preventing fraud”.

As always, this is not just an issue in “the West”.

Chinese companies have been leading this race for a while, with AliPay having biometric payment options since 2015.

Moscow’s Metro system has been using facial recognition cameras for biometric payments for over a year.

And it’s not just payments, “replacing the password with the person” has already spread to other areas.

Hoping to corral support for biometrics from the right, national governments are collecting biometrics to “curb illegal immigration”. You can expect that to spread.

The European Union will be implementing a new Biometric Entry-Exit System (EES) as soon as October of this year.

Biometric signing is on the rise too.

Laptops tablets and smartphones already come with face-reading and fingerprint scanning technology to confirm your identity.

Social media companies have been collecting biometric data “for security and identification purposes” for years.

Google Play launched a new biometric accessibility feature only a couple of weeks ago.

It’s all just so convenient, isn’t it? So much faster than e-mailing security codes and solving increasingly impossible captchas (both of which have unaccountably got harder and more complicated recently, and will doubtless continue to do so).

That’s how they get you: Convenience.

They won’t ever remove the “old-fashioned” ways of accessing your accounts, but it will get increasingly slow and difficult to use while biometrics get faster and easier.

Meanwhile, the propaganda will begin to flow.

Influencers will be paid to use “cool” “futuristic” biometric payment options that “feel like having superpowers” in contrived “viral” videos. Biometrics will save the day in a trendy movie or TV show. Some old fuddy-duddy will go on Question Time and rant about the new technology…just before saying something racist or denying climate change.

Maybe a major hack or cyber-attack will only affect those who haven’t switched to biometric authentication yet.

You get the idea.

And all the while supra-national corporate megaliths will be creating a massive database of voice recordings, finger and palm prints, facial and retinal scans.

It’s a good thing we’re ruled by a morally upright elite. Imagine the damage they could do with all of that.

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