Mastercard Wants to Identify Americans by Heartbeat and Veins

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Payment provider Mastercard announced this week that it is developing various technologies that will allow it to identify customers by their strides, heartbeat, and vein patterns.

According to a report by MarketWatch, Mastercard is developing biometric technology that will allow the payment provider and other companies to identify their customers based on unusual biometrics. The new technology will specifically allow Mastercard to identify customers based on the way that they walk, the unique pattern of their heartbeat, and the layout of their veins.

Ajay Bhalla, president of cyber and intelligence solutions for Mastercard, said in a short comment that the company is eager to track their user’s unique biometric data. To Mastercard, these metrics are the next evolution beyond the fingerprint scanners that have become common in smartphones.

“The way you hold your phone, which ear you use, and how your fingers touch the buttons are all unique to you,” Bhalla said. “We have been testing heartbeat, vein technology, and the way people walk to authenticate people.”

Mastercard is also looking into vascular matching technology, which identifies individuals based on the vein pattern that is identifiable on their skin. “We are looking closely at a range of modalities for biometric authentication, including gait analysis, ECG [electrocardiogram] and vein pattern to identify a user,” a MasterCard spokesman said.

Bhalla said that the credit card giant also wants to use heartbeat monitoring to identify their customers. “A user could wear a band around their wrist that measures the pulse and constantly authenticates you.”

The usage of biometrics is controversial both by governments and private companies. Facebook recently settled an Illinois lawsuit for $550 million on the topic of biometrics. According to Breitbart News’ reporting on the lawsuit:

The lawsuit began in 2015 when Facebook users from Illinois alleged that the site violated the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act by using facial recognition software to analyze users’ photos. The lawsuit specifically related to Facebook’s “Tag Suggestions” feature which allowed users to recognize their Facebook friends from uploaded photos.

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