In May this year, Sony Computer Entertainment filed an application for a patent concerning biometric security. Not an entirely new idea, since there are consumer devices like phones (and the Kinect) that already have things like facial recognition, but it’s the scale of Sony’s thoughts on the matter that are important here.
The patent, called “PROCESS AND APPARATUS FOR AUTOMATICALLY IDENTIFYING USER OF CONSUMER ELECTRONICS” (and uncovered by PlayStation Lifestyle), seeks to eliminate the process of a user having to identify themselves to a device in order to be recognised.
That would mean no more passwords, or usernames, or codes, or anything like that. Your devices would just know it was you. And more importantly, would always know it was you, as they’d continually be able to monitor the identity of the user, instead of just asking once and assuming 12 hours later it was the same person behind the controls.
It’s short on specifics as to how this would be implemented; it’s more of a general concept, only mentioning possible biometric sensors like “fingerprint sensors, hand sensors, face recognition systems, iris scanners retinal scanners, voice pattern analyzers, and DNA analyzers”. In an accompanying diagram, you can see a game controller that would presumably be able to read your fingerprints.
Why would Sony want to do this? There are a number of reasons. Targeted advertising would be the main one, but Sony also discusses the possibilities for things like anti-piracy measures and content restriction (for accounts and age groups) as well.
You can check out the patent application in full below.