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December 10, 2008

Thumbs up to fingerprints

Study shows consumers prefer finger biometrics

By Jason Stamper

Consumers have given the thumbs up to the use of fingerprint scanning as a preferred way of using biometric identification to verify their identities with banks, government agencies and other organisations.

Analysis of data collated by Unisys Corp alongside the latest instalment of its bi-annual Security Index concludes that people felt reassured by fingerprint scanning more than any other biometric.

Some 67% of consumers surveyed around the globe said they trusted fingerprint scans, which is far higher than any other type of biometric identification method, the company said.

“Biometric and other identity-based measures are one of the more visible approaches organisations can take to reassure customers that their personal information is protected” said Neil Fisher, VP ID management for Unisys. There are understandable implications for businesses in the financial services sectors, with Unisys finding that worry about the fraudulent use of credit or debit cards ranked the number one or two highest concern in 11 of 13 countries surveyed.

The findings of the study give IT directors all the more reason to consider the option as an acceptable and effective way of protecting high value data and customer identities. 

To date the technology has made only slow inroads at the enterprise level and is being variously deployed as a replacement for swipe cards in time and attendance applications, to secure entry to hospital wards and airports, and at banking ATMs to verify chip-and-PIN based transactions.

But the global market for biometric products is projected to surpass $7 billion by 2012, according to Business Intelligence.

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One of the key areas for growth is non-automated fingerprint identification biometrics systems, driven by government ID management programmes, criminal ID and surveillance and private sector initiatives such as employee ID.

Unisys reported that acceptance of such ID schemes was found to be higher in regions where governments and other organisations already embrace biometrics such as Malaysia and Australia, and in the UK with its proposed national ID card.

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