Evolving technology with sophsticated security devices

Don't waste your money

WXYZ - (WXYZ)- Cue the theme song to James Bond and Mission Impossible because what used to be futuristic high tech security devices are now being rolled out for consumers to use!

Imagine accessing your online bank account with your fingerprint!  Or unlocking your smartphone with facial recognition!

How does it all work?  And should you be concerned about privacy?

A quick iris sweep opens the door to a penthouse hotel room.

The right face and voice unlocks a smartphone.

A scan of a finger print instantly identifies blood donor Bill Herron at a blood bank, no I-D required.

Heron said, "all I have to do is put my finger on the pad and they have all my information and off we go."

These sophisticated biometric security devices work by measuring things that are "unique to you," like your fingerprint, your voice, your face, even your eye.

Michael DePasquale of BIO-key International said, "clearly the future is now, and it is coming to life."

From checking in at work...to buying lunch at grade school...popping into the gym...and even entering theme parks, this technology is already a part of everyday life for many.

Soon more computers, phones and tablets will be equipped with finger scanners, which can allow you to open your PayPal account, and even medical records with a simple swipe.

"Consumers are overwhelmed today by passwords, pins and cards that they have to use to access all the things that are available to us now," DePasquale said.  "They're no longer secure, but more importantly, they're becoming very inconvenient."

Industry experts say most devices don't save your actual scans or finger prints.  Instead they're "digitally reconfigured" and only reference points are kept. 

The blood bank where DePasquale donates says their system used multi-layer triple encryption to keep everything private. 

Jayne Giroux of Suncoast Communities Blood Bank said, "it ensures that no one can intercept or modifty this secure information over the internet or network.  It's virtually impossible for anybody to steal your identity without your biometric finger data."

But, are there privacy issues?

David Jacobs of EPIC Consumer Protection Counsel said, "I don't think it's concerning or alarming so as long as there are protections in place and consumers are notified about how this information is going to be used and they're assured that the data is stored securely."

Still, privacy advocates say they're keeping a close watch on how this technology evolves, because nothing is hacker proof.

"In the near future, biometric information could be useful for identify theft as a social security number," Jacobs said.  "It could even be more problematic because if your credit card number is compromised, the bank can just issue you a new credit card, but it can't issue you a new iris."

Bill says this technology makes life easier and says he's not worried at all about the safety of his information.

"I think it's a cool idea," Heron said.

If you have concerns about using biometrics, be sure to ask what personal information is stored and if it is shared.

And okay, let's get really sci-fi here-- if you're now thinking, "what if someone cuts off someone's finger" or makes a fake one?  Experts say a new technology can tell if a finger is the "real deal."

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