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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Biometric ID systems face hurdles

Ziff-Davis has a long article on the difficulties that biometric identification systems are having, especially in the retail industry. The article starts with a particularly interesting anecodote on the problems that Piggly Wiggly has encountered with getting grocery customers to sign up for its Pay-by-Touch fingerprint checkout system.
Bolt [an IT executive at Piggy Wiggly] said she didn't appreciate how emotionally intense some of the opposition was until she visited a store and saw a 70-year-old woman literally throw a Bible at an employee trying to enroll people in the program.

"She told him that God was going to rain hellfire on him and that he was promoting the devil's work," Bolt said, adding that she took that to mean the customer was not interested in enrolling....

The 70-year-old customer was reacting to the concern of some in the religious community that RFID (radio-frequency identification) and biometric programs are similar to a Bible story known as "the mark of the beast." The story from Revelation speaks of limits to sales or purchases "save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."
Apart from religious objections, biometrics systems are not the panacea that some technophiles believe they are.

Read the whole article to get a view of some of the more significant problems with biometrics.

Related posts
Drawbacks of biometrics
The real problem with password security

by Frank Scavo, 3/01/2006 09:14:00 AM | permalink | e-mail this!

 Reader Comments:

This happened in the 70s when barcode scanners showed up too.

I must admit that I don't really know what problem pay-by-touch is trying to solve. In my experience fingerprint biometrics are a real pain. If you spend too long washing the dishes the night before or get a little bleach on your fingers, good luck.

And if they're trying to solve a fraud problem, they do a lousy job with card-not-present type fraud. As do RFID and Smartcard based solutions, for that matter.

I've often wondered why the banks haven't been able to strike a deal with RSA. If you could embed some variant of one of those SecurID tokens into a credit card, it seems like you could drastically reduce telephone/internet/mail-order fraud. Essentially, just a CVV number that changes periodically.

Actually one of the cleverest idea's i've seen for alternate payment systems was an idea where you have some simple software on your cellphone/PDA that produces a standard barcode that can be scanned using existing technologies.
As far as biometric identification is concerned I am being very advantaged with its use. I think identifying people from root trait is an innovative idea. Being Incharge of the CMS division of an International Airlines agency in my city, I had to ensure smooth management of keeping the customer records. Then we integrated Fingerprint recognition systems from Atlanta Based M2SYS Technology, into our customer service software. Now the whole system works great.As there are criticism mentioning certain problems but I would like to share that imaging mechanism of bio metrics works by reading the fingerprint pattern from the live, highly conductive layer of skin that lies beneath the skin’s dry outer surface layer. So it is hard for anybody to spoof the system. My experience says that where spoofing question arises, looking for authenticated biometric firm is the best solution.
I am glad to know that Raymond Joseph is really benefited by the biometrics fingerprint scanners provided by our Company. Biometric devices are making transnational communication much easier, safer and more reliable. Customer service is becoming more efficient through it. Tracking clients is getting faster. For proper customer service and payment facilities one need to ensure smooth management of keeping the customer records. I am a representative of an established research based biometric firm named M2SYS Technology http://www.m2sys.com/ based in Atlanta Georgia. We have provided our fingerprint scanners to numerous POS, super stores and agencies starting from medium to large across various countries, who are now making a very fast and reliable customer payment and customer record service through integrating our secured fingerprint identification system in their POS software. Our’s is a patent-pending fingerprint software solution that can be instantly integrated with a host application, avoiding development burdens associated with a fingerprint SDK. We also offer several off-the-shelf fingerprints software products that are distributed to the end user market through our expanding list of channel partners. I believe to keep up with speed of service and tracking the customers as well as employees in an efficient way, finger print scanners are one of the best solutions.
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