Half of European consumers would share biometrics for online security, support federated identity

More than half (51 percent) of European consumers would share biometric data to improve their online security, and 41 percent would do so to for single sign-on access to multiple accounts, such as for government and social media services, according to research released by Unisys.

More than half of the 3,500 people from seven countries across Europe said they are open to adopting federated identification systems to ease access to online services. One-third of those surveyed say they would share biometric data for faster access to government and banking services, while 28 percent would do so to reduce cost.

Support for federated identity and biometrics are generally not given without conditions, however, as 59 percent of respondents said they would that organizations explain the security measures implemented to protect user biometric data before sharing it.

“In the future, centralized ID services are likely to include a mixture of on-device checks and on-server authentication, where personal biometric data is verified by a service provider,” says Unisys Global Chief Security Architect Salvatore Sinno. “That means service providers need to join forces to win the hearts and minds of consumers, explain what security measures they have in place and how they manage personal data. The incoming General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will bring data security and privacy rights to the top of the consumer agenda, so service providers’ security strategies need to be clarified quickly.”

Greater support from organizations and the public for federated identity and biometric authentication would influence some reticent consumers, as 35 percent said they would support federated identity if it was used by companies they already have accounts with, and 29 percent said they would share biometric data if their peers did.

Unisys points out that the UK government’s GOV.UK Verify program and related plans by the Government Digital Service show public sector willingness to embed digital identity management in public services and seek international interoperability standards.

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