Fingerprint scans have a spy-novel appeal that makes them seem cool. And how much easier would it be just to put your finger over a dot instead of remembering a bazillion passwords?
But is it really that easy?
The fingerprint scanning feature on the iPhone 5S seems like the same kind of frenzy we saw with the QR code. Remember when QR codes were first introduced and everyone thought they’d be the wave of the future? A way for the physical and digital world to interact with just a simple scan? Well, years later, QR usage is still dismal. With the number of steps it takes to use it, oftentimes the end result just isn’t worth the effort, and this keeps usage painfully low.
I’d love to use biometric authentication instead of remembering a separate password for everything, but not if it takes three steps to open, four attempted scans before it reads correctly, and only one or two services that accept fingerprint scans as account verification.
A recent article in USA Today did a nice job of pointing out some pretty major flaws in biometric technology. If someone finds out your password and hacks into your account, you can always go in and change it to take back control. If someone gets your fingerprint somehow (after all, we leave our fingerprints everywhere we go), you can’t get a new one.
As with a lot of new technologies, there’s a high coolness factor. But the reality of implementation can take the cool right out of it.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens with this one, but I remain hopeful because I don’t know how many more passwords I can remember.