Biometric security in movies

Biometric security in movies

While biometric security is becoming increasingly commonplace as a way to secure and protect digital assets, the technology has been featured in Hollywood movies for some time. All types of biometric security – iris, fingerprint, hand print, facial and DNA – can be found in popular films, which speaks to the technology's appeal in general. However, while biometrics have been of interest to movie producers and audiences for years, many of the instances in which they appear in films do not reflect an accurate portrayal of what the technology is like. Accordingly, here are 4 examples of biometric security in films that would not exist in the real world:

"Creating a fake fingerprint is no easy feat."

1. James Bond
In spy films, such as those in the James Bond series, fingerprint scanners appear quite frequently. It is important to point out that this is the most common type of biometric security in the world today. However, in "Diamonds Are Forever," the technology is not portrayed accurately. James Bond, played by Sean Connery, is able to get past Bond girl Tiffany Case's  fingerprint scanner, using a fake fingerprint. As SRI International pointed out, in real life, any smudges or grease on the fake print could have easily caused the authentication to fail. In intensive, combat situations, such as those Bond is known to get into, cuts or blood on the agent's fingers could be very easily picked up by the scanner. In 2015, scanners are increasingly sophisticated and do not succumb to such crude infiltration attempts. Also, creating a fake fingerprint is no easy feat. It would probably require the use of a lab, chemicals, materials and countless attempts to bypass the scanner. Nice try, Mr. Bond, but you'll have to try harder next time!

2. Demolition Man
In this movie starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes, Simon Phoenix, a criminal mastermind, is able to escape from prison using the eviscerated eye of the warden. Meta Pancakes pointed out, however, that a disembodied eye would not get past an iris scan. Using a dead man's eye would fail because today's iris scans have implemented a "liveness detector" that would sense the eye is not reacting to the scan. A living eye has pupils that dilate and respond to light. The eye used in this movie would certainly fail to authenticate access, or in this case, enable escape from prison. 

3. Minority Report
Another movie where the protagonist tries to bypass an iris scan is "Minority Report." In the film, Tom Cruise plays a disgraced policeman on the run who has eye transplants to conceal his identity. The officer also keeps his old eyes with him so he can log into the police network when needed. Obviously, in the real world, neither of these situations could possibly happen.

4. Gattaca
In this science fiction film, the protagonist, played by Ethan Hawke, cheats a fingerprint and DNA scan by concealing a drop of blood beneath a fake fingerprint, noted Meta Pancakes. This is not plausible for two reasons. Firstly, while DNA detection holds potential for use in the future, there is already much debate surrounding the details. For example, with regard to DNA testing, the questions arise: Who will own the DNA information? Does the law decree that DNA information belongs to citizens or technology companies? In other words, today, there are no real-life applications for DNA-based biometric security. The second reason this is not realistic is because it uses two forms of biometric data in one test. While biometrics are being used more widely today, devices don't often offer two tests simultaneously. 

As previously mentioned, the most popular form of biometric security is fingerprint. Until such a time when technology catches up with Hollywood, biometric fingerprint scans will be the way to go. 

Posted by cmarsden

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