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Last month, I wrote a story about biometric companies using thermal imaging to make a profit during the coronavirus pandemic. But a new company based in Europe takes the cake when it comes to profiting from our fears.
A German company called Nuki Io has created a touchless door lock that uses facial recognition to unlock and lock doors because you cannot spread COVID-19 if you don't touch a door knob.
"Nuki’s smart door lock automatically unlocks your door when you get home and securely locks it again when you leave."
Their blog reveals that Nuki's smart lock use liveness detection to let users open and lock doors.
"A central component of this technology is liveness detection, which serves as a security mechanism against facial recognition fraud. Liveness detection analyses incoming images with regard to three-dimensionality and texture."
However, homeowners can only unlock and lock their doors if they send their facial images to Nuki Io.
"To begin with, the person registers and enrolls with BioID. During the enrollment process, facial images are created and transformed into a biometric pattern. This unique pattern is stored at BioID together with a unique identification number. In the BioID iOS facial recognition app, which is specifically modified for Nuki, the user is registered with their personal identification number. As soon as the open door or unlock button in the Nuki app is pressed, the facial recognition as well as a liveness detection process is conducted, serving as a fraud protection mechanism against photos, videos and masks."
A recent FTC press release concerning Tapplock, revealed why sending your biometrics to a private company is a bad idea.
“We allege that Tapplock promised that its Internet-connected locks were secure, but in fact the company failed to even test if that claim was true,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Tech companies should remember the basics—when you promise security, you need to deliver security.”
It takes a lot for the FTC to issue a press release about a smart lock company. But their complaint spells out why everyone should think twice about giving their biometrics to a private company.
"Contrary to the statements described in Paragraphs 8-11, Respondent did not take reasonable measures to secure its locks, or take reasonable precautions or follow industry best practices for protecting consumers’ personal information. In fact, Respondent did not have a security program prior to the discovery of the vulnerabilities described..."
Once a person submits their biometrics to Nuki Io they can use Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa to unlock or lock their doors.
Whether biometric companies portray their product as a public health safety measure or as a fun way to unlock and lock your doors, they all have one thing in common: giving your biometrics to a private corporation.
Nuki Io takes a page out of the old smart devices are fun playbook, by posting this glowing review.
"For me, Smart Home means: lifestyle & making everyday life easier. Electronic door lock, smartwatch and voice assistant - three smart gadgets that accompany my daily life. Every technological development has new and exciting tools at hand. Pure variety!" Judith Wilfing said.
Claiming that smart doors and voice assistant devices make everyday life easier, is disingenuous and does not reveal the whole truth about smart devices. They are easily hacked and not as secure as companies portray them to be.
Once someone installs one of these smart devices in their home they instantly start recording your friends and families biometrics and conversations. If you ask me, that is too high a price to pay for making our everyday life easier.