I’m posting this as a response to my colleague’s blog post. Laurie asked whether biometrics as a security mechanism is actually useful.

I see biometric security as an excellent mechanism for protecting things that are less likely to be hacked or are less important. It works well for the cell phones of the everyday masses. Not so much for the US president.

If the president is hacked, the consequences pretty great. In fact, I guarantee that many people are actively trying to hack his stuff at this very moment. Biometrics may not be the best form of security for him.

People are unlikely to try to hack my accounts. What do I have to hide? Somebody could potentially embarrass me or steal my identity. In the grand scheme of things, this is unlikely to happen because I don’t have much to steal and not many people would benefit from my humiliation. And the consequences of it happening are pretty small.

So the iPhone’s fingerprint scanner? I think it’s a good idea. The kind of people who will try to hack my phone will be more deterred by it than by a passcode.

That and it is a really cool toy.

Cross-posted on the SEP Blog.