I think the consumer mass market for biometrics was substantially changed this year as the ramifications of Apple’s decision to use its TouchID authentication service to anchor Apple Pay began to be understood beyond the payments space.

Apple has framed biometrics as a convenience technology rather than a security technology, a change of perspective that will drive them into much wider use in the coming year.

To a great many people, biometrics are now simple, familiar and useful. I am already irritated beyond measure when an app asks me for a username and password rather than a thumbprint.

As a long-time advocate of the “Apple model” (local biometric authentication against a revocable cryptographic token in tamper-resistant hardware), I fully expect to see biometrics spreading to other consumer devices and into the “internet of things”. 

One of the reasons why I am so bullish about this is that connectivity,  smart devices and the intelligent use of biometrics can also, I think, start to deliver the kind of privacy infrastructure that will be increasingly demanded by consumer-facing businesses over the coming year.

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