Just a quickie today, as I wasn’t planning to post anything, but a story on the radio this morning made me prick up my little AML ears.  Apparently the Halifax bank here in the UK is trying out some new technology which uses your heartbeat to identify you.  You wear a special wifi wristband, and the system learns the unique pattern of your heartbeat and uses that to allow (or deny) you access to your bank account via your mobile phone.  All very exciting and Star Trek, but one little problem did spring to mind.

One of my favourite films is the whimsical French “Amelie”.  At the start of it, the heroine reveals that she had a very sheltered childhood because her father – a doctor – believed that she had a heart problem.  Why?  Because he was not a very demonstrative man, and the only time he would touch her was when he was giving her a medical check-up.  And the little girl found the unaccustomed cuddles from her papa so exciting that her heart-rate would shoot up.  Might something similar happen with Halifax customers?  Might the excitement of being due diligence pioneers prove so thrilling that the heartbeat that is recorded on their file at the outset of the initiative does not match their normal pattern which will reinstate itself further down the line, when their banking activity returns to its mundane reality of paying bills and looking in vain for interest?

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4 Responses to Boom-diddy-boom

  1. mscompliance says:

    While I am ALL FOR moving in a Star Trek direction, I am very wary of “new technology” It will take years before this works efficiently. We will get there but I don’t think we are there yet. its like the fingerprint scanner on smart phones, 10-15 years ago that seemed pie in the sky and frankly if you were stuck using that tech back then poor you … but today, my husbands phone can only be opened by his thumb print.. we tested this to the brink of sanity hahaha… like wise mine is safe… So long as no one cuts off my fingers to access my phone 🙂 I suppose a heart beat passcode is safer than a thumbprint, a heart is harder to steal, unless of course you are Jean Luc Picard 🙂

  2. Yes, Mscompliance, it’s always the early adopters who have all the heartache (boom boom!). I’m not sure where you are based, but for UK readers this will seem particularly interesting because the Halifax is not usually at the forefront of banking innovation, if I can put it that way. It is a more traditional institution.
    As for the physical risks of it all, can we expect lots of headlines about bankers stealing your heart?
    Best wishes from Susan

  3. Roy McCarthy says:

    Sad in a way that we all need to desperately safeguard our own personal nest-eggs. What happened to those halcyon days where we wore flowers in our hair and decided to share our possessions, each taking what they needed and no more?

  4. Just when were those days, Roy? People also say that you used to be able to leave your front door unlocked when you went out, but I don’t remember that either. Maybe it was just my neighbourhood….
    Best wishes from Susan

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