News : Shops and Telcos Collecting Fingerprints, Voice Records of Customers
March 24, 2014 -- Telcos and other businesses are preparing to store biometric data such as voice and fingerprint records to identify customers.
Optus and Virgin Mobile’s updated privacy policies advise that "we might collect biometric information for use with new technologies like voice or fingerprint recognition. This could happen as technology changes and evolves over time".
Ted Dunstone, chief executive of consulting firm Biometix, believed biometric collection would be widespread within five years as consumers replaced cash and card payments with smartphone transactions.
"Using voice and fingerprint verification is a more secure method than existing processes that rely on answering questions such as date of birth that relatives, jilted lovers and fraudsters can more easily access," he said.
Under the Privacy Act, biometric details are classified as safeguarded "sensitive" personal information that can be gathered, with consent, for a specific purpose.
Centrelink already offers voice verification to authenticate phone self-service callers as an alternative to PINs. St George Bank’s customer contact centre has a "time-saving" voice recognition option.
The ANZ is testing voice matching for call centres, and for mobile phone banking customers wanting to authorise large transactions. It expects to introduce developments within 12 to 18 months.
The bank has also raised the possibility of fingerprint and eye scans at ATMs.
An individual’s biometric information is converted into a series of numbers representing their unique features. Called a template, it is stored digitally.
Optus spokeswoman Claire Wong said although the company did not use biometrics now, potential uses included voice confirmation of customers phoning call centres.
Fingerprint logins for staff seeking to access customer details was another possibility.
Health insurer ahm’s voice biometric system has operated for seven years.
"Customers who have registered say their ID number to the voice recognition system, which matches the ‘sample’ voiceprint to the ‘base’ voiceprint," spokeswoman Victoria Hanlon said.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Wednesday, March 26, 2014