Sky News reports that the deal struck by the US military is worth multiple millions of dollars, and is currently being carried out by the researchers at West Point. Other conceptual biometric technologies, like fingerprints or corneal-scanning have already been developed, but these types of biometrics are much different from the previously proposed ideas. Instead of concentrating on the physical characteristics of the users, this new method would examine the behavioral aspects of how a user uses their technology.
For instance, everyone moves their mouse differently, and uses a swiping pattern to unlock their smartphone. These are called cognitive fingerprints:
Just as when you touch something with your finger you leave behind a fingerprint, when you interact with technology you do so in a pattern based on how your mind processes information, leaving behind a “cognitive fingerprint.”
As Mashable puts it, “You pass authentication just by being you.”
One example highlighted was stylometrics, which analyzes the style and structure of a user’s writing. This can determine authorship in a similar manner to the way academic institutions identify plagiarism. The project to integrate certain biometrics such as these is already in its fourth phase, and is expected to soon be available to the general public for online shopping, banking, and more.
Is this something that should be developed? Some people aren’t so sure. Advocates of privacy feel that this new method may be used as a new tool for cyber espionage, or for in-depth monitoring of personal habits. This is mainly due to the controversy over the NSA’s controversial practices, but only time can tell whether these concerns are justified or not.
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