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Survey sees US consumer confidence fall for biometrics

Survey sees US consumer confidence fall for biometrics

Unease with business use of biometrics data appears to be settling in for U.S. consumers.

Marketing statistics published by GetApp, a business software marketplace, indicate that whatever shine that touch-free biometrics got during the pandemic is fading.

The company compared concerns that people reported with biometrics as a concept in this report and one published in 2022, and the market appears to be edgier.

Worries rose marketed in five listed areas: data misuse, breaches, ID theft, privacy and accuracy.

Thirty-eight percent of people responding to a survey worried about biometrics’ accuracy in 2022 compared to 63 percent this year.

The smallest gap was about loss of privacy. It was a concern for 62 percent in 2022 and 71 percent this year.

It’s hard to know how much weight to give the results because GetApp would only say only that this year’s biometric survey talked to 1,000 respondents last month. A related report looking at retail AI security risks found 1,000 U.S. consumers willing to respond last summer. They specifically answered questions about AI tools involved in online shopping.

That said, the report indicates that comfort with sharing fingerprint, face and voice scans rose from 2020 to 2022 but fell sharply from 2022 to 2024.

Unsurprisingly, fingerprint scans were most trusted with a clear majority approving early on with 62 percent in 2022 and 63 percent in the next report. But comfort dropped to half of respondents this year.

Facial scans were the second-most comfortable biometric ID method, but it’s a distant second. Forty-four percent was the high mark in 2022, a rate that fell to 33 percent in this year’s report.

GetApp executives say people don’t trust “tech companies’ ability” to protect their biometric data. But breaches are by some measures fairly indifferent to targets and comparatively infrequent.

In court cases filed alleging violation of the state of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), non-technology companies are taking the most hits from plaintiffs. This probably reflects politically tinged dislike for the dominant firms.

Similarly, respondents’ comfort with “facial recognition” that is used in security roles is solid, while their support for it in retail settings has fallen in half.

At the same time, some in the biometrics community are quietly waiting for the eye-opening breach of scans in the United States.

One of the largest biometrics breaches from India’s Aadhaar ID database occurred in 2018, reportedly affecting 1.1 billion residents.

And in 2019, the biometric identifiers of 27.8 million people were exposed while secured by security firm Suprema.

One thing that might settle nerves would be coherent, federal legislation making use and storage of identifiers the same priority for companies as they are for people. Instead, the dribble patchwork of isolated and weak state laws continues.

HB24-1130, a bipartisan-sponsored bill in the state of Colorado would require biometric data be destroyed a year after being collected or when the owner requests. It would also demand that identifiers be stored at “a higher level of security,” according to a handout by the state’s Democratic Party.

The bill passed unanimously this week, and will advance to the senate.

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