6 Mar 2022

How biometrics can be a force for good and ill

From Sunday Morning, 11:05 am on 6 March 2022

Leading forensic anthropologist Professor Dame Sue Black steadfastly refuses to use her fingerprints to open things like her phone, but she is supportive of a future where biometrics can unlock solutions for us to have better lives. Black says things like fingerprints being able to open medical records for people who require urgent medical attention offers a great opportunity to improve lives. But, she warns, the threat of people trying to access our personal details for nefarious reasons isn't going to go away anytime soon, regardless of the regulations that are put in place. Black has also created a groundbreaking system that uses unique vein patterns, skin folds and blemishes to identify the hands and forearms of child abusers from photos and video images. To date, it has seen in excess of 30 life sentences that have been secured in the UK court system. She joins the show to discuss her work, why she doesn't share her fingerprints with anyone (except the police), and why she'll feel incredibly cheated if she ends up dying in her sleep.