Alternative Passwords: Would You Give Your Right Arm?

New technology always brings about change––and fear. Often this fear relates to learning something new, losing privacy, or being left behind. Alternative passwords, however, have introduced something new. If something needs a body part in order to be unlocked, what does that mean for personal safety if the item is stolen from the user?

The iPhone 5S’s fingerprint recognition system for unlocking the phone brought to the masses a new fear of losing limbs. Unlocking your phone with a fingerprint instantly makes security more personal and secure, but what happens if someone tries to steal your phone? Does the thief have to take a finger as an extra souvenir?

The short answer is no, so go on without fear. The long answer is that Apple has thought this through. The 5S has RF (radio frequency) capacitive sensors built into it that only acknowledge a live finger using the layer of living skin under the surface of your fingerprint.

Hollywood films, however, depict body dismemberment all the time to grant someone access to a top security site. One of the most famous recent examples is the removal of an eye for a retina scan in The Avengers. The film takes into account the necessity of a living organism to complete the transaction––could it ever be a reality? Science fiction often influences technology that is being developed and points out what should be avoided.

If Apple has proven anything, it is that no one intends to put us in any sort of danger due to technology. With every innovation, we are being asked to invest more of our body and soul, which naturally leads to worrying about what happens if either body or soul needs to be compromised. For all its faults, we seem to be in safe hands with the technology industry, which thus far has kept our flesh and blood in mind. Anything to the contrary is an exception rather than the rule.

Author: Zack Smith

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