The Media Wants to Know: Topics and Insights from James Quin

CDM Media’s Senior Director of Content & C-Suite Communities, James Quin is regularly cited in various media stories across a variety of industries. But leading up to these article inclusions are many conversations and insightful commentaries which don’t always make the publication. In this weekly (or more!) new section, James shares his responses to a myriad of tech topics he discusses with journalists. 


The Media is Talking About: “Biometrics: Kill All Passwords”

Recently PayPal evangelist John LeBlanc shared some radical ideas on how biometrics can help us get rid of passwords. James Quin weighs in on some questions posed to him:

1) What is stopping the widespread adoption of biometric identification?

There have, to this point, been a few issues with biometrics and at the core most of them revolve around getting the lowest possible cross-over error rate. Cross-over error rate is the point at which the two common error rates (false positives and false negatives) cross one another (because as the one goes up, the other goes down). If the cross-over error rate is still too high (that is there are combined too many false positives and false negatives) then adoption will be low because people won’t accept the stability of the technology. Of course that brings up the second big issue which is cost – for readers to be good enough to have a low cross-over error rate they tend to be expensive.

2) Some of the approaches LeBlanc suggests include fingerprint scanning, vein recognition, heart rate monitoring, body scans, ingestibles, and brain chip implants. Which of these approaches seem the most viable, and which ones have no chance? Why?

I’m going to go with “brain chip implants” as likely the least viable because, you know, who wants to undergo surgery just so that they can eliminate their Windows login? Ingestibles are likely also a non-starter in my opinion because what goes in must come out if you get my drift and what happens when a little digestive distress leaves you without an authentication capability? Things that stay with you but don’t require special activation processes (like finger prints, iris scans, etc.) are likely to be the winners in the long run but, and here’s the rub, will always need some kind of backup in case they fail. And the most common backup is always going to be the humble password.

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