Monday, September 24, 2018

Biometric Ethics

   As technology in the world of IT grows it brings many changes into our lives both for what seems to be good but also the not so good. We know now that crimes in the world of cyber space are very real. Scamming is on the rise too. In fact personalized searches on the internet means that the information selected by your search is now very carefully selected to show stuff nearby to your location unfess you use a VPN.
   I found this annoying while travelling in the EU. As soon as I entered my wifi network provided by hosts my searches were localized both in shops nearby and in currency. I was no longer a Canadian travelling. I was a local. It affected how some of my streaming apps would perform with some refusing altogether. And since EU has added some security not yet part of Canada, I had frequent pop ups about that. I decided not to post blogs but did manage to read some. 
   I left August 5 and did not return till Sept 18 . During that time my home internet was used occaisionally by visiting daughter or our cat sitter. My internet bill is due to be paid on the 20th each month. In August all was as usual but in September my bill was up by more than $40 and I protested. 
   On the due date I called my provider and requested an explanation. Voice of the agent said, 
  “Your promotion is up and also all internet Canadwide went up September 1st,” and I was offered a new better service package that was now using voice commands. I said no thanks to that and asked to just give me a package close to my old price. I was on speaker phone. While the agent was busy getting me a deal, I was busy chatting with my daughter who had dropped by. 
   The agent finally offered me a package that was $10 more and would keep my features status quo so I accepted the change. And when I thanked the agent I was very surprised and not too happy. Here’s wby;
   “While I got you your new deal I also did a biometric scan of your voice and it is now in our system. The next time you call us we will know it is you and you will not be asked to ID yourself. It is our lateset customer recognition technology. Now is there anything else I can assist you with?”
  “No thanks.”
   As I hung up I was a bit in shock. The idea that my voice ID was literally taken from a phone call to a service provider without even asking my permission leaves me wondering how the field of biomtrics will evolve for the good and what about the bad?
   Face reconbition, thunb print, iris and now voice are used as biometric identifiers yet are we safer? And do we even know if and when we are being tracked? Announcements that conversations are taped for quality services are frequent but no one states we are keeping track of your voice for ID purposes.