Invasive Yet Inevitable? Privacy Normalization Trends in Biometric Technology

Paik, Sejin; Mays, Kate K.; Katz, James E.
Social Media + Society

As biometric technology relies on bodily, physical information, it is among the more intrusive technologies in the contemporary consumer market. Consumer products containing biometric technology are becoming more popular and normalized, yet little is known about public perceptions concerning its privacy implications, especially from the perspective of human agency. This study examines how people perceive biometric technologies in different societal contexts and via different agents in control. Our study revealed that, in large part, people?s perceptions of biometric technology are context-dependent, based on who retrieves and who benefits from the information and the situation where the data are collected. Participants were much more comfortable with more intrusive biometric technology in airport security than in a grocery store, and if it was employed to improve their health. We conclude by considering the implications of the survey for new threats to personal privacy that arise out of emerging technologies.