The NSA wants to recognise you based on how you type on your smartphone

Rand Paul NSAWin McNameeU.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) (C) holds up a group of cell phones in front of U.S. District Court to announce the filing of a class action lawsuit to stop NSA surveillance.

Like snowflakes or fingerprints, each smartphone user’s typing may be slightly different.

That’s what the National Security Agency (NSA) is banking on. As Nextgov reports, the NSA recently tested swipe recognition technology from Lockheed Martin that attempts to identify smartphone users based on how they type on their phone.

John Mears, senior fellow for Lockheed IT and Security Solutions, told Nextgov that all humans have their own electronic signature. Lockheed’s digital recognition can find this signature by examining the shape of a person’s swipes and the time a user spends typing.

It is unclear how the NSA plans to use the technology, and the agency did not immediately respond to our request for comment.

Smartphone signature recognition technology is part of a larger push within the security community to develop technology that improves on fingerprint identification. As Nextgov notes, the FBI has invested heavily in biometric ID systems that seek to go beyond fingerprint recognition, identifying individuals based on a variety of different means including everything from tattoo to retina scans.

While government agencies are exploring possible security uses, private companies are racing to develop biometric ID technology that could be used in consumer products. USAA bank recently rolled out an app that allows customers to log in from their phones using vocal and facial recognition software.

The market for biometrics is estimated to be at least $US3.6 billion, but it is expected to grow
exponentially in the next decade.

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