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What businesses want with your voice

Posting in Technology
You'd be forgiven for not wanting to give businesses a recording of your voice. They get your email address and your inbox is flooded; the same goes for physical address. But, if a business asks for voiceprint in the near future, it might actually be for your own benefit. 

One way hackers go about breaking into your accounts is through the phone. They obtain a few pieces of information and pretend to be you to try and dupe workers at a call center into giving up your "forgotten password." But now businesses are increasingly looking to collect voiceprints to verify your identity when you call saying you forgot your credentials. As BBC reports:
Digital voiceprints contain over 100 identifiable elements. And, by using complex mathematical algorithms and the latest high-definition audio equipment, voice biometric companies believe they can now identify people accurately more than 97% of the time.
Even identical twins, who share the same DNA, can be told apart from their voiceprints, making the technology reliable enough to be used as evidence in courts of law.
Like any biometric security, it's not a perfect system. Depending on how strict the system is, someone could use a recording of your voice. Still, it's working better than the alternative, so far. According to BBC, before Barclays Wealth started using voiceprints, 25 percent of fraud phone calls got past the bank's security system. That percentage has since dropped to zero. 

Read more: BBC

Photo: Flickr/Anders Adermark


— By on November 25, 2013, 2:22 PM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure