Privacy, Security Focal Points At CES
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
Two of the hottest topics in the tech world over the past year have been cybersecurity and personal privacy. And that's been clear at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. When Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez addressed the conference this week, she called on companies that make Internet connected devices to build in protections for consumers from the outset.
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EDITH RAMIREZ: Companies should conduct privacy or security risk assessment as part of the design process. They should test security measures before products launch. They should use smart defaults, such as requiring consumers to change default passwords in the setup process.
BLOCK: Privacy and security are also focal points on the CES floor for the first time this year. More than 80 vendors are showcasing related products. Lindsey Turrentine, editor-in-chief of CNET.com, has been talking with those vendors. She joins us from the Las Vegas Convention Center. Lindsey, welcome.
LINDSEY TURRENTINE: Thank you.
BLOCK: And you've been checking out the products on the floor since Tuesday. What are some of the things you've seen in what's called the Personal Privacy Marketplace there?
TURRENTINE: Well, we've seen a lot of products that are dealing with payments, especially since Apple Pay came onto the market recently. We've seen some interesting products that make payments easier for people who might not own the newest smartphone. One I saw was called Hypr-3 from a young company that creates a small device that's essentially a little - it's like a key fob. You can stick it to the back of your phone or you can carry it near a phone and it works with your phone to act as a digital wallet. So it securely stores your credit card information. You use your fingerprint to use it to pay anywhere that accepts digital payments.
BLOCK: And the question - if it's part of the Personal Privacy Marketplace, the assumption is that this will be more secure than other ways of payment?
TURRENTINE: Yes, because it uses multiple factors for authentication and that's basically a fancy way of saying that it uses something you are - your fingerprint in this case - something you have, which is the device it's paired with, like your phone, and something you know, which is the password you use to get into your phone. And so it creates a unique identifier for each session when you use it so there's really no single password that gets stored.
BLOCK: Let's listen to a bit of a keynote address that was given by the CEO of Intel, Brian Krzanich. He was trying to demonstrate using facial recognition as part of home security and here's what happened.
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BRIAN KRZANICH: So you can see she walks up, her phone is authenticated. She shows her face, the face is authenticated. The alarm is disabled. And the next step, the door is unlocked. The door is unlocked.
KRZANICH: The door is unlocked. Oh, there it goes.
BLOCK: So a few hiccups along the way, but I gather the door did eventually work. Does this point to some hurdles for tech companies like this? Not everything is going to work the way it's supposed and with the question of security, that's a really big deal.
TURRENTINE: It is a really big deal, but I think we are getting a lot closer to using all kinds of information from your body to create a more secure environment. And so what Intel is working on is using its true sense cameras. These are new cameras that Intel is just introducing at CES to, they say, get rid of passwords altogether and use these biometric security points for you to login, so that you can actually use your face - just sitting in front of the camera on your computer or in front of your cellphone - to act as your password.
BLOCK: Lindsey, anything else on the floor there in Las Vegas that's really caught your eye in this field of privacy and security?
TURRENTINE: I think that I am really very bullish on the biometric security. I think that if we can get to a point where we can use our face or fingerprint or our retina - there's a retina scanner here - to login, that creates such a great alternative to remembering 15 different passwords that you, essentially, always forget and then have to create over and over and over again.
BLOCK: I know that feeling.
TURRENTINE: Oh, yes, it can become incredibly irritating.
BLOCK: Lindsey Turrentine, thanks for talking with us.
TURRENTINE: Thank you for having me.
BLOCK: Lindsay Turrentine is editor-in-chief of CNET.com. She joined us from this year's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.