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Apple drives biometrics in mobile commerce, boosts consumer privacy: report


Recent developments from Apple – Touch ID, mobile payment system Apple Pay, and Apple’s updated privacy policy – have been a huge driver of consumer biometrics in mobile commerce, and at the same time promoted consumer control of personal data.

In its latest market brief, “The ABC’s of Mobility: Apple, Biometrics, and the Promise of Consumer-Centric Privacy,” Acuity Market Intelligence says that Apple’s approach sets itself apart from corporations (like Facebook and Google) that capture and monetize consumers’ personal data and financial behavior. It also avoids the “credit bureau model” where corporate entities like Experian and TransUnion own and manage consumer financial profiles.

“With the Touch ID enabled iPhone 6, iOS 8 and Apple Pay, Apple is offering consumers biometrically secured devices and mobile phone transactions,” said Maxine Most, who tracks the biometrics and identity market and is principal of Acuity Market Intelligence. “At the same time, Apple has assured customers that the company will not have access to the data on their iPhones, will not track or store users’ iPhone transaction footprint, nor will they have the ability to comply with government warrants or subpoenas for data on these mobile phones.”

Most said that Apple’s recent measures have done “more to break open the mobile marketplace for consumer biometrics than biometric industry insiders, associations, and advocates have in more than a decade.”

The iPhone has helped provide an introduction for many consumers to fingerprint scanning in mobile authorization, and it will likely become part of more applications. Companies like Nok Nok Labs and IdentityX are making it easier for developers to use Touch ID in conjunction with their custom apps. And as more apps incorporate biometrics and collect user data, Apple could also play a huge role in introducing notions around the consumer-centric control of biometric data.

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