Andras Cser, VP, Principal Analyst and Merritt Maxim, VP, Research Director

Show Notes:

What is the future of biometric data? Will it revolutionize industries or become a privacy hornet’s nest? That’s the question we debate in this week’s episode.

The episode starts with a review of the three most prominent uses of biometric data — voice, fingerprint, and face recognition — and a discussion of why these three have become more common than other biometric applications. Cser points out that in consumer markets, convenience is a major driver for the use of biometrics (think identification verification without having to visit a physical store or bank branch).

But there are challenges. One of the biggest challenges is changing consumers’ habits. While many consumers understand the benefits of biometric technologies, getting them to change habits and use something like facial recognition to access their bank account is not so simple. User education is key to overcoming concerns about privacy and abuse of data. In fact, as Cser explains, there are privacy benefits to using biometrics, but the average consumer may not understand the technology well enough to understand that. Or, they may not know how to validate how their biometric data is being used.

The episode then digs into how various regulations have impacted biometric adoption. Maxim explains that in the US, for example, there’s a patchwork of state-level regulation that addresses use of biometric data. “I’m not confident we’ll get to a federal equivalent anytime soon,” he says.

The benefits of biometrics, however, are worth the efforts for many industries and firms. Maxim uses the travel industry as an example where facial recognition can provide a more secure and more convenient user experience. And the more technology (cameras, voice recognition, algorithms, etc.) improves, the higher consumer trust will be and the broader the use will become.

If you like this discussion, be sure to check out Forrester’s upcoming Security & Risk event November 9–10. Both Maxim and Cser will be presenting at the event, which covers a variety of issues around data privacy, trust, and technology.