What’s worse than standing in a huge line to get into the stadium to watch your favorite team? Standing in another huge line to get your favorite beer. CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders FC, now offers the option of entering the stadium and purchasing food and beverages using biometrics fingerprint scanning technology. Fans can create an account with Clear® and then they will be able to use that technology to both gain entrance to the stadium and to purchase food and beverages at concession stands.
This latest Internet of Things (IoT) technology application follows the announcement in July that we wrote about here regarding the use of biometrics for entrance into Major League Baseball stadiums. Clear® is the same company that offers iris scanning technology that is in place in more than 35 airports around the country.
New technology, especially IoT tech, presents new privacy challenges and biometrics is no different. Using the technology in a venue such as a large stadium or airport offers the opportunity for a streamlined customer service experience. The challenge is to ensure that biometric data is secured and protected from hackers and other threats. Clear is Safety Act certified and states on their website that they transform biometrics into an encrypted code that matches your fingerprints and irises to your unique code. The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) states on their website that they are committed to protecting the privacy and security of any biometrics data collected as part of their facial recognition/biometrics testing process. See their FAQ in the form of myth busters chart with a side by side comparison of myth v. fact for its use and testing of biometrics technology.
So what does this mean for privacy and security concerns? A good starting point is to learn about the technology and how it works. Biometrics is not limited to fingerprint and iris scanning and can encompass a wide range of options all unique to individuals. Biometrics can also be incorporated into two-factor identification. Using biometrics technology to get through an airport or to buy a beer in a stadium is a certainly a choice, not a requirement. But if you’re in Seattle, you can now use that fingerprint and go grab a beer.