The last days of privacy

San Francisco Chronicle
by Jonathan Curiel

06/25/06

Within the next four months, a major Bay Area supermarket chain plans to introduce a payment system that uses biometric fingerprint authentication to verify customers' identities. Under this system, shoppers in checkout lines won't need to use cash, checks, debit cards or credit cards. Instead, they can place their fingers on scanners that read fingerprints, and once the device links to their bank or credit card accounts, they can buy groceries, get cash back and do everything else shoppers do. The system is already used in cities around the United States, including Portland, Ore., and Chicago. ... But no system is 100 percent foolproof. Despite the fact that armed men guard the computers that store the customers' virtual fingerprints, despite the fact that Bank of America's former security chief now heads Pay By Touch's security division, and despite the fact that Pay By Touch hires people to try to expose vulnerabilities in its computer system (so those vulnerabilities can be eliminated), Pay By Touch President John Morris acknowledges that 'it's not impossible' for computer hackers to figure out how to tamper with its information...

http://tinyurl.com/erb8l


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

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