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Is Scanning Technology the Future of Customer Privacy?

As time goes by, we become increasingly dependent on our mobile devices, which puts their safety quite high on the list of our priorities. Passwords get cracked, PIN numbers guessed and locking patterns figured out, which means that the data stored on your phone is not nearly as safe as you think it is. Seeing as how most of us are constantly logged into our accounts on our mobile phones, almost all of our data is at stake if our phones get compromised. This is mostly why major phone manufacturers are currently investing in biometrics. But, how safe and foolproof is this approach? Let’s find out!

The issue of private information

The first major problem that a lot of people mention when it comes to biometrics as a safety measure is the issue of privacy. You see, you are not likely to tell anyone the PIN or CVV number of your credit card, nor are you likely to share a password to your Facebook account with a complete stranger. Sure, some of the information might get stolen, extorted or blurted out in public but in general, this is something very private and is most commonly treated as such.
On the other hand, you are bound to leave your fingerprints all over the place, which means that someone with a malicious intent has an easy way of acquiring them in order to break into your phone. The issue with the retinal scanner and iris recognition is an even scarier one, seeing as how there are some concerns that the device could be tricked by being shown an image of one’s face. Nonetheless, manufacturers tend to dismiss these concerns as unfounded.

The overall safety

Another thing that a lot of people fail to understand is that the technology itself isn’t enough to protect users. All the data gathered by these sensors have to go somewhere, and if the company that has all the information has no way of protecting it, you may have a serious problem. With this in mind, safety standards such as PCI DSS will still play a major role in determining the trustworthiness of the communication channel.

Health problems

The next set of concerns regarding biometrics revolves around health-related issues, which can cause a wide array of troubles. Some skin diseases have been known to have a strong influence on the process of one’s fingerprint recognition, which might cause a small problem. Luckily, this method is usually not used as the only security method, and a person using the phone might be asked to type in the three-digits-long PIN or a password instead.

Far more serious are the accusations that the iris scanner can, allegedly, cause a mild discomfort with its users. These allegations even go as far as to mention serious dizziness and even pain after the first use. Since this technology rests heavily on infrared radiation, some experts even suggest that this method might damage one’s eyes. If proven to be true, these concerns might prove a serious obstacle to the idea of biometrics as a whole (at least for this approach).

Conclusion

While the above-listed problems may seem like something quite negative, one has to bear in mind that the scanner technology on such a level is, more or less, still in its infancy. Therefore, we could optimistically expect all of them to be fixed in the nearest future, although, it is quite improbable that they will be used as a stand-alone safety measure anytime soon. On the other hand, even when this technology reaches its peak, it is highly unlikely to expect that it will be 100 percent foolproof. To make the long story short, scanning technology is the future of customer privacy, although we can’t tell for sure when this future will arrive.


Dan Radak is a marketing professional with eleven years of experience. He is currently working with some companies in the field of digital marketing, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies. He is also a coauthor on several technology websites and a regular contributor to Technivorz.

 

What is HTTPS/SSL Encryption & Will It Boost My Google Search Rankings?

Security has always been a top priority for Google. Over the years, the company has invested a lot in ensuring that their services use industry leading security such as strong HTTPS encryption by default. This means that anyone using Google’s services like Search, Google Drive and Gmail automatically have a secure connection to Google’s servers. But beyond their products, Google’s ultimate aim is to make the internet a safer place for users, especially those using its search engine. On august 8th, 2014, Google announced that they will be using website security as a ranking signal. This means that websites that use HTTPS/SSL encryption are going to ranker higher in Google’s search engine. The signal is quite weak at the moment – affecting less than 1% of global queries – but Google did mention that the signal may be strengthened over time to give noncompliant websites time to switch to HTTPS/SSL security. The change is designed to promote online security by encouraging webmasters to implement SSL/TLS to encrypt website traffic. While most major websites had already implemented HTTPS/SSL following Edward Snowden’s revelations of NSA snooping, the standard practice has been to implement a secure connection only at the websites log in page. Making all web connections HTTPS secure by default is the most effective defence against man in the middle attacks thus protecting surfers’ privacy all the time.

What is HTTPS/SSL?

HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) is the more advanced version of HTTP and is usually implemented on websites to keep ecommerce transactions secure. When a surfer visits a websites via HTTPS, the site uses a digital SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate to create a secure connection between the server and the browser. Websites with valid SSL certificate can be easily identified if the address begins with https:// as opposed to http://. Moreover, web browsers such as Firefox and chrome always display a padlock icon to indicate that the site being visited has been secured in this manner. Up until Google’s announcement, HTTPS/SSL encryption had been used by just over ten percent of all websites.

What are the SEO implications of switching to HTTPS?

Having been rolled out recently as a ranking signal, its effect is still incredibly small, and has only had an impact on less than 1% of global search queries. As it stands, running your website via HTTPS is not going to push you to the top of Google’s search results for your keywords; there are literally hundreds of other things you should be doing that would yield better results in terms of improvements in search rankings. But industry experts expect HTTPS to grow in importance over the coming years, which means that it would stand you in good stead to prepare for the inevitable mass shift to HTTPS by preparing the migration early.

What if I already have HTTPS/SSL?

Most ecommerce websites already have HTTPS/SSL encryption enabled in their checkout and login pages to protect user privacy and secure online transactions. But it is important to note that any ranking boost from HHTPS/SSL only applies to SSL enabled web pages. To reap maximum benefits, you need to make your entire domain name, all the files, and URLs SSL secure. The pages then have to be tested to ensure that users don’t get any SSL certificate errors. All videos, images and third party content have to be adapted to ensure that the page doesn’t give a security warning when accessed from a remote browser. In fact, Google recommends using the Qualys Lab tool to test SSL pages and certificates.

What are the negatives?

Done right, there are no downsides that we can absolutely confirm in regards to switching from HTTPS to SSL. While many webmasters have previously expressed concern over the lower load speed of HTTPS sites VS https, the issue has been mostly negated by Google’s work on SPDY. Furthermore, Google Webmaster Tools has been improved to support HTTPS reporting. But to get best results, it is strongly recommended to seek advice from an experienced SEO consultant or developed before making the switch from HTTP to HTTPS.

We recommend playing a wait-see-approach to implementing SSL on your site. If you are not selling products through e-commerce on your website, we would not recommend changing your website to SSL yet. Ask yourself this “When was the last time that Google said something would give you a rankings boost? Even slight?” We can’t remember one. Now this could be viewed as total conspiracy stuff, but what if Google were to set their algorithm to have a higher quality standard for sites with SSL and your site was right on the threshold for quality before going to SSL? Could this mean that your site may give a signal to Google that you are doing SEO on your site and your site ends up penalized? We don’t really know at this point. This is the main reasons why we are going to be patient and test this on a few test sites before we start recommending this to any of our clients at Coronation Internet Marketing.