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MasterCard to Add Fingerprint Authentication for Purchases

MasterCard to Add Fingerprint Authentication for Purchases

credit card

The future of biometrics. has arrived!  I wrote a post about facial recognition and its use by airport security.  And another post about Alabama asking it’s citizens to submit their taxes via selfie.  Well, now MasterCard wants you to verify your identity using your fingerprint. But not just your fingerprint.  They are also wanting you to put your PIN number in as well.  Which makes some sense, as a two step authentication process.  But to me, it seems a bit much.  Doesn’t it?  In all of these scenarios, we are giving a part of ourselves to an organization.  Whether it’s a corporation like MasterCard, or the IRS.  We are giving out our personal data in ways that we never have before.

I don’t really like the idea of this.  For many reasons, but let me start with the fingerprint recognition feature on my phone.  If my finger is wet, or if I’m sweating, then my fingerprint doesn’t get recognized.  Ok, you’re probably saying make sure your hands are dry.  No problem.  But because the button is so small, and apparently my finger is huge, it’s still doesn’t always get recognized. It’s one tiny part of my actual fingerprint.  Not the entire thing. This is extremely frustrating for me and I’m just trying to get into my phone.  Imagine what could happen if you’re trying to make a purchase and it doesn’t work?

I like the idea of the two step authentication process, but what happens if it doesn’t work?  … Read the rest

Big Brother is Watching: Trump Fast Tracks Facial Recognition at Some Airports

Big Brother is Watching: Trump Fast Tracks Facial Recognition at Some Airports

facial recognition

Big brother is watching, and has been for a while.  Well, kind of.  Since late last year, the United States Customs and Border Patrol has been performing facial recognition scans at some airports.  Specifically of people leaving the country.  On one hand this could be seen as a good security measure.  A way to identify the “bad guys”, so everyone else can get on a plane without any issues.  But on the other hand, is this just the beginning of big brother?  (Note that I am referring to George Orwell’s 1984, and not the reality show.)

CBP is saying that this will benefit travelers.  Presumably by not holding up the process any further.  But they also said that it’s upholding a Congressional mandate that was instituted in 1996.  So why haven’t we seen more of this until now?  Did the technology simply not exist?  Or were there other ways of obtaining this information? There are two other really interesting points to make here.  1)  The facial recognition is only going to be used on non-U.S. citizens and 2) It’s only applied when you’re leaving the country!  Does anyone else not see an issue with this?

The system is explained that if your face doesn’t match an image for someone coming into the country, then they presume you entered illegally.  But is that always the case?  There have been several times that I drove somewhere in the United States with my father, only to fly home.  … Read the rest

AeroMobile to launch it’s AeroMobil Flying Car Later This Month

AeroMobile to launch it’s AeroMobil Flying Car Later This Month

aeromobil

Move over Doc Brown, there is a new kid in town.  A company by the name of AeroMobil has announced that it will be unveiling the AeroMobile Flying car at the Top Marques Monaco car show, later this month.  The price and other specs are expected to be released later this week.  The car itself was developed a few years ago, but wasn’t ready for release until now.  The company has made “hundreds” of improvements to the original prototype.  And of course, with this kind of technology, I think you have to.  According to reports the vehicle is both a completely integrated aircraft, as well as a fully-functioning four wheel char.  And the theory is that by allowing for both usages, people will have the option of which to choose.  I often write about having choices and options and why that is a benefit to the market.  But I wonder if, in this case, having options is going a bit too far.

If I argue my own point for just a second, then I would say this: having a vehicle that gives you the ability to both fly and drive opens up a world of possibilities when it comes to transportation.  If you are stuck in a traffic jam, put out the wings and away you go.  If you’re running late, transform into plane mode and get to your destination on time.  But then the other side of me is wondering if this is all too much in terms of choice?  … Read the rest

How Secure is the Messaging App on Your Phone?

How Secure is the Messaging App on Your Phone?

using iphone

How worried should you be about the privacy of your messages?  If you’re not concerned, maybe you should be.  And if you are concerned, you’re probably using a messaging app with end-to-end encryption.  Or are you?  Just how safe is the messaging app you’re using?  There are many popular ones out there, including iMessages, Whatsapp, Signal and even Kik.  Although, I’m not really sure why that last one is even an option.  But that’s not the point of today’s post.  So let’s look at how well your messages are protected.

imessage

iMessage:  iMessage has end-to-end encryption built in as a default.  So if you’re sending to someone else who is also using iMessage, then only you and the recipient can view the message.  Apple doesn’t have the ability to view your messages.  But the drawback is if you’re messaging to a non-iOS user, as it will be sent as a text message.  And text messages, my friends, are not encrypted.  Apple has taken a lot of steps to ensure that the messages sent through iMessage are protected, but this is an on-going battle.  Making it a good option from a privacy stand-point, but also recognizing that the software isn’t immune to hacks.

WhatsApp Logo

WhatsApp: WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps out there.  But until recently, it had some serious privacy issues associated with it. While WhatsApp does have end-to-end encryption, it’s unclear if it’s “true” end-to-end encryption.  Meaning, there have been some reports of being able to access WhatsApp messages, but there is a lot of different information out there.  … Read the rest

Are We Over-Reacting to Apple Abandoning Support on 32-Bit Applications?

Are We Over-Reacting to Apple Abandoning Support on 32-Bit Applications?

Apple has reportedly made the decision to abandon support for 32-bit applications.  But are we really surprised by this?  And will it make a difference? You could kind of see this coming, right? Back in January it was rumoured that Apple would do this.  And it sounds like they’ve been giving developers a lot of time to get their apps updated.  So what is the big deal?  I don’t want to get into all the technical details about what this means, but the long and short of it is – the higher the bit, the faster the data can be processed.  Why, then is it such a big surprise that Apple is going to stop supporting 32-bit applications?

It’s not.  And here’s why.  Apple actually started to tell developers that it was going to stop the support back in 2014.  Giving developers a lot of time to make some changes.  Further, don’t we want to have access to better applications and games?  Don’t we want to have those available in the 64-bit regardless?  I would also argue that with the advancing technology in the operating systems themselves, it only makes sense that we would need better applications to run on the OS.

iphone with apps

In addition, Apple is warning users with iOS 10.3 that if you’re running a 32-bit application, you’re going to need to update it.  If the app developer decides that they are unable to produce a 64-bit version of that app, Apple will warn you again.  … Read the rest

Will Tesla’s Work with Panasonic Put Solar Panels on Every Home?

Will Tesla’s Work with Panasonic Put Solar Panels on Every Home?

solar panel on garage

Just as the controversy surrounding climate change, heats up (no pun intended), Tesla is giving you a way to make your home more environmentally friendly.  How, you ask?  By offering sleek looking Panasonic solar panels to attach to your roof.  Solar panels themselves are not exactly new, but it sounds like these ones might be a better option if you’re concerned with the way they look.  Traditional solar panels tend to be bulky and stick off your roof slightly.  Exposing the hardware to anyone walking by.  But are you really concerned about the way it looks?  If you are, these are the panels for you.

Aside from vanity, there is an even bigger reason to consider these panels for your home – energy conservation and environmental impact.  Ok, that’s two reasons, but they go hand in hand.  The big benefit I am referring to is that solar panels reduce your reliance on other types of power.  But up until now, the issue with solar panels is that they technically only work when it’s sunny.  Meaning, there haven’t been a lot of “good” ways to store the energy.  That’s not to say that you can’t store it through a battery, but how many battery cells would you need to back up/run your house when it’s raining?

solar panels on houses

And that’s where Tesla comes in.  My assumption is that part of the reason for partnering with Panasonic is for Tesla to push the Powerwall.  Essentially, it is a battery pack that stores energy until it is needed.  … Read the rest

Choosing a VPN – How Do You Know Which One is Right for You?

Choosing a VPN – How Do You Know Which One is Right for You?

internet security

Is there such thing as a safe VPN?  Ever since the FCC changed its privacy rules, everyone is on the hunt for a VPN.  What do the FCC changes mean for you?  Essentially, big brother is watching.  And they will continue to watch you, including where you go on the internet.  Internet Service Providers, or ISP’s, needed your permission to collect certain personal information.  But not any more.  Well.. that’s not the whole story.  But for the sake of this article, it allows the ISP’s to be able to sell your browsing data to third parties.  Some of which are likely to be advertisers.  Again, not getting into this too much, but this might not be that different from what we see Google do in relation to our browsing data already.

So is there a way around it?  The idea of a VPN, or a Virtual Private Network is just that.  It creates a way of viewing content on the internet in a private way.  Engaget can explain this a lot better than I can, and this is what they have to say about how a VPN works: “With a VPN, the user’s internet connection travels encrypted from computer to VPN server; from there the user’s connection travels unencrypted to their final destination (a website). This way, websites only see the VPN’s IP address and not the user’s, and your ISP only sees you visiting the VPN. The ability of any attacker to spy, intercept, attack or steal information stops at the VPN.”

internet security

With the change in the FCC rules, there is bound to be any number of issues.  … Read the rest