Concerns about data hacking and identity theft via biometrics are on the rise, report says

A Capterra study of 756 Canadians revealed that the use of biometric data has increased among consumers since the start of the pandemic, creating concerns about the security of their personal data.

The report shows that 50% of respondents cite potential identity theft as a concern with the use of biometric technologies. Other concerns include the misuse of respondents’ personal data (49%) and an invasion of privacy (45%).

Biometric technology can identify people on the basis of certain physical or behavioral characteristics, in the same way that people can be identified by sight by their physical appearance.

Biometric authentication can be used to protect data and stop fraud, as well as other cybercrimes, by requiring users to validate their identity using personal characteristics. For example, biometric data, such as facial appearance or retina scans, can be very distinctive and difficult to fake.

Because biometric data is difficult to forge, this method of authentication has been used by government agencies for passport control and permit issuance. JThe private sector has also begun to implement this technology, an example being smartphone fingerprint scans used to unlock a phone.

Among Canadian consumers surveyed, 55% regularly use fingerprints as a method of identification and 32% also often use facial recognition methods, usually when using smartphones. Five percent use hand scans, 10% use voice biometrics and 5% have used iris scans. The survey also revealed that 31% of respondents do not use any of the biometric identifiers mentioned in the Capterra survey.

According to the report, tech companies have also used biometric reading capabilities on other devices. For example, Windows Hello facial recognition is now available on many Windows computers and tablets.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the use of biometric technology. The report found that 14% of biometric users said they started using facial recognition after the pandemic began. Fourteen percent also said they had started using fingerprint scanning since the start of the pandemic, indicating that biometric technology may continue to grow.

However, many Canadians do not support processes that require the use of personal information online. Just under half of respondents have never used a digital health passport and 14% said they do not want to use apps to access their vaccination status due to data protection concerns.

The rise of cyberattacks has also intensified, raising concerns about the security of personal information stored online. For example, COVID-19 has seen some data custodial institutions, such as hospitals, exposed to the risk of cyberattacks. Just over 60% of respondents say they are more concerned about their personal data being breached since the start of the pandemic.

While many survey respondents feel comfortable sharing personal information such as name, date of birth and address with private companies, comfort levels are significantly reduced when it comes to to share their biometric data and images of documents such as driver’s license scans, with private companies, with only 22% of consumers feeling comfortable in these scenarios.

Some of Canadians’ concerns about biometrics are fueled by their use by police AI Clearviewwhich was found to violate privacy protections, the report found.

For other countries like France and Brazil, where the same survey was conducted, data breaches are the main concern when it comes to biometric technology.

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