Google and your biometric data

This is disturbing news - so Google want us to give up our fingerprints and facial recognition as a way to access their services. Who will own this information? It’s a dystopian nightmare. Right up there with Minority report.

Google has announced that its apps and services will now be “passwordless by default” in an effort to make all users switch to passkeys.

The move is part of a broader consensus among the tech industry to ditch passwords, which have been around since the 1960s, and switch to a safer and more efficient format to verify a person’s identity.

Passkeys combine a code with biometric information like a fingerprint or facial recognition, making them easier to remember and harder to be stolen.

Google apps like YouTube, Search and Maps all support the new format after it was first introduced earlier this year, though take up has been slower than expected.
The tech giant said the push to get users to adopt passkeys coincided with Cybersecurity Awareness Month, claiming that the new technology is faster and more secure.

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Not only that Annie, I’ve just bought a newish car and there are three pages in the handbook on how to unlock the thing…Wot! no key…?

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Suits me … even with a password manager, a password/2FA system is archaic and unwieldy when confronted with multiple accounts on multiple devices … :computer: :desktop_computer: :man_technologist:t2::vibration_mode:

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I have used my fingerprint to unlock my phone for years. it is very handy.

Every so often it asks for the PIN number just to make sure it is really me. I have tried face recognition but it has the same trouble as passport control and doesn’t cope will with a beard and was very hit and miss.

Anyway you have 10 fingers/thumbs so Google still won’t know everything about you if you give them access to one.

Different phones/devices have the sensor located in different places so different fingers are more convenient depending on the device

I use my biometric (?) data ie my thumb print, to enter my Government ServiceNSW site and my banking app - it is very convenient indeed.

As a precaution I have entered two fingers/thumbs on my phone in case cutting or grazing one damages its response

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I am thankful for the thumb/finger print recognition. The only problem is, not using a password or PIN then leads to you forgetting what it is… :roll_eyes:

That is where a password manager comes in handy. The one I use works on all my devices and a free service like OneDrive ensures that each device has the latest database.

Keepass it is open source, free and by all reports the encryption is first rate

Just be thankful that they no longer need to tell you how to adjust the tappets or decoke the damn thing.


My concern is who holds the data and how it can be used in the future. In the old days, how many would willingly have gone to have their fingerprints taken at a police station if they had not committed a crime? Facial recognition is even creepier. It’s unavoidable as we now have biometric passports. Some countries use fingerprint recognition for passport authentication.

Although having said all this, it’s possible all this data will be lost when we have WWW meltdown in 15 years or so and the cloud bursts.

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I am not sure how this fingerprint data works but I don’t think it is like the Police recording of your finger prints with so many points needed for an accurate ID. It is something to do with capacitance of the body. I suppose it is possible to Google this

One of my kids and a kid in law work in high security buildings where Iris detection is used to gain entry because finger print analysis is not good enough (so I am told)

BTW Malaysia record both your index fingerprints on entry and exit to/from the country - presumably they store this information with your passport information and compare it. I am not sure if it is photographed though I think it is because the immigration officer checks something to see it is OK.

I think your only safety is in the sheer amount of data.


My biometric data, including my DNA is on a Government Database.

That was the nature of my job, it does not worry me.

I would not be happy if anyone else had it.

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I hope I won’t need those with Google but have been using them with banks for years and like it. I wonder why Google wants us to use them? What does Google have to offer?

If you use fingerprint / facial recognition on a smartphone or similar personal electronic device, the data is stored on the device you are using it with, so you retain control of it.
The data never leaves that device, so it is not stored on any database anywhere.
If you are using it instead of a password for an App, the only info the App receives is that the device has successfully recognised your fingerprint / face.

I don’t use Google but I have been using Fingerprint and Facial recognition on my Apple devices for quite a few years now.

I use it to unlock my iPhone and my iPad and I use it instead of a Password for some of my Apps.
Currently I use Fingerprint ID on my iPad and Face ID on my iPhone.
I can select in my Settings whether to use this type of ID or not - and I can turn it on or off for each App on my Device.

I find it really handy.

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I can’t stand the faffing around with passwords even if cloud has remembered them it’s still annoying.
I’ve been using fingerprint recognition for years on my iPad and iphone .
I wouldn’t go back to passwords.

Yes, I like to give my bank two fingers Bruce…



If google uses this it won’t be stored on a local device. It also presumes that every person who uses google services will have a smartphone capable of authenticating.

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Won’t you still be able to decline the default option and continue to use Passwords instead, if you don’t want to use the Google Passkey system?

That is the way I read the information about it.