Unisys: Interest in Biometric Authentication Growing

By Brian Prince  |  Posted 2009-11-10 Print this article Print

Perhaps underscoring a concern with fraud and identity theft, a new survey from Unisys found that a growing number of consumers are open to biometric authentication solutions.

The company's biannual Unisys Security Index included responses from 8,300 people from nine countries. Unisys found that despite a general decrease in overall concern about security threats, consumers remain most concerned about bank card fraud and identity theft. These concerns, Unisys contends, may have led to increased acceptance by consumers of biometric technologies.

According to the report, 58 percent of Americans would be willing to provide biometric data to merchants and financial institutions to verify their identity. Ninety-three percent said they would be "interested in using fingerprinting to secure their data."

In the U.K, 95 percent of respondents said they would be willing to provide fingerprint data. In addition, 90 percent said they would provide an eye scan, while 82 percent said they would provide a facial scan.

"Consumers worldwide seem to be growing more comfortable with the idea of using advanced and sometimes unfamiliar technologies to secure their identities as a way to prevent fraud," said Mark Cohn, vice president, enterprise security at Unisys, in a statement. "Given the concern about bank fraud and identity theft, it is not surprising that people would embrace new ways to protect themselves. But we were somewhat surprised by the wide acceptance of biometrics such as iris recognition and facial scans, technologies which consumers were more familiar with than we might have predicted."

Overall, Belgium and the U.K. were the most accepting when of biometric authentication schemes, which encompass everything from voice prints to photo ID to facial scans. The least interested were New Zealand and Brazil.

"In many countries, levels of consumers' acceptance of new forms of identity management appear to be higher than what might be expected," Cohn said. "These results indicate that some governments and financial institutions should 'catch up' with consumers and implement these solutions at a faster rate."

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