Red Envelope Madness!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Would you give your fingerprint for movie downloads?

The Digital Music Weblog writes about a technology which uses "biometrics" for protecting copyrighted material.

The pros:

”The appliance lets you search for any movie that, say, George Clooney has appeared in, and download it. You’ll have access to more movies than you get at Blockbuster, and you don’t even have to walk to the mailbox, like you do with NetFlix.”

Access to the network requires a fingerprint, which is attached to the file the user downloads and becomes the key that allows that file to be played. The fingerprint can also be used to trace unauthorized acquisition of copyrighted material.

The cons:
But, as Digital Music News analyst Richard Menta notes, “The problem is that once a fingerprint is stolen, it can’t be changed like a credit card number, and it is compromised forever. One, of course, doesn’t have to go to grotesque lengths of stealing the finger itself, just the algorithm that represents the fingerprint electronically on a device or file. Once VeriTouch records a fingerprint, the user is trusting that they will be able to protect it.”

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