Over the years, biometrics—fingerprints, iris scan—has emerged as the key to secure personal information. Since your fingerprint stays with you forever, it is considered better than a password that could be hacked and needs to be changed regularly. But, as smartphone camera technology gets slicker by the day, biometrics may not be the best way to secure information. Japan’s National Institute of Informatics has cautioned that selfies posted online where the “peace sign” is flashed could just be enough to replicate the fingerprint that is used to unlock your mobile phone, that treasure trove of everything related to you. It’s not just close-ups, but even images taken at a distance of three metres that could be used. The technology required to replicate fingerprints is some two years from development, but since images on the web last forever, it is better to be forewarned.
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One way out is to turn your hand around so that the fingerprints are not visible to the camera or wear gloves. While that is still possible, a tight facial image could well be used to replicate the iris which is used in many places to provide access. One way out is to wear dark glasses each time a photo is taken, or simply avoid taking pictures. But, that would hurt the growth of social media and mobility.