UK SUPERMARKET Costcutter is reportedly testing out the sort of payment system that makes security researchers pop up like meerkats and say "oh, hang on a moment."
Payment by Vein is being tested out in London perhaps because that's where hipsters congregate*. Costcutter is doing the trial and is expecting that people will come in and give it the finger whenever they get their groceries.
The BBC drew our attention to this, because whoever makes Fingopay probably assumed that we would only mock its name with toilet humour and point out - with one of our fingers - that this is the kind of system that can be exploited by raw sausages, if they came straight to us.
Boringly, the BBC says that Costcutter is trying it out in lab conditions at Brunel University, as well as at an unmentioned London store, and will accept Fingopay into more of its stores if this goes well. It also says that Barclays the bank has tried out the vein identification system already.
Fingopay is a partnership between Hitachi of Japan and a company called Sthaler. The latter's FAQ on the system that turns your finger into an ATM is one of the most interesting things that we have read this year. It covers, for example, what happens when your finger is damaged, which we think is a first for technology frequently asked questions.
For example, "How do I change my enrolled finger?" and "What happens if I am under duress and forced to make a payment?"
The answer to the latter is admittedly disappointing, but relatively positive.
"We have developed a "duress" process that assures your personal safety first. We will release details soon," said the firm about that.
Nick Dryden, chief executive of Sthaler, kind of confirmed our hipster suspicions when he told the BBC that the system would appeal to young people. "Today's millennial generation now expects a higher level of ease, security and efficiency from the way that we pay," he said.
Graham Cluley, who is to security reporting what Lovejoy is to antiques and not dressing your age, told the BBC that the finger is often exploited and suggested that there are better options out there.
"There have been fingerprint biometric systems in the past that have been easily tricked," he said.
"The problem with biometrics is that you can't change it, so if someone gets hold of your information and reproduces it, what are you going to do? You can't change your finger.
"I do wonder why there is such an urgent push to use this technology rather than the traditional methods of identifying yourself." µ
*Fingopay has been tested already in a bar in Camden.
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