I recently read a few articles about the collection of a new kind of biometrics, our behavior and movements. The full list incorporates hundreds of data points, but includes things such as the angle at which we hold our devices, how we unfreeze a locked screen (e.g., move the mouse side-to-side, up or down, touch a key, etc.), the movements we use to fill in information (e.g., use tab key or mouse), if we use the mouse wheel to scroll, how fast we fill in details, and on and on and on…
When I first read about biometric behavior data collection it was in the context of being used as a way to protect us, as customers, against identity theft. For example, I always log onto my bank account the same way by using keyboard commands. If the bank senses someone trying to use a mouse to login to my bank account, that could trigger an alarm that my information had been compromised.
Sounds like a good plan, in theory. People want to feel safe in an online environment. Many of us have already grown accustomed to having bits of our digital lives silently tracked and being used to offer us great deals and incentives through highly targeted advertising campaigns. But as we have seen, there are huge problems with so much unregulated data collection and flimsy, or non-existent, laws to protect us against misuse (e.g., the 2016 election outcome, Facebook, Google, etc.).
I have problems that this type of data collection is done behind the scenes without any regulation or consent. Moreover, when I started researching it, I discovered that many companies engaging in biometric behavior data collection hire 3rd party companies to gather and monitor the data. This means that the 3rd party companies are maintaining profiles for millions of customers. Who knows how they are going to protect, treat, and manage this vast amount of information properly. Likely the company that hired them hadn’t even fully thought out this part of the process.
In my experience as an information management professional, I’ve noticed that information, and the management of this valuable asset, is a top concern, but one of the lowest priorities to work on.
Our privacy and identities are worth protecting, even if it’s just about how we like to scroll through a news feed or login to an account.