Website playstationlifestyle.net uncovered recently a Sony patent that describes a system to track your fingerprints, iris, and dna in order to prevent hacking and piracy, as well as for targeted advertising purpose. Sounds like a great idea… not.
Your Identity and your privacy are today the major assets giant tech companies fight to control. Google has proven that targeted advertising is a very profitable business, and all companies want their share of the loot on your personal information. Beyond this, companies like Sony, that sell digital products, are spending considerable amounts of money to protect their products from piracy, through the use of
In and “ideal” world, DRMs would recognize the person who paid for some specific digital content, and let that person use the digital content on whatever hardware they want, whenever they want. This was, actually, the promise of DRMs and of the cloud. But practically, what DRMs actually are today is a strong limitation in how you can use your purchased content, which is usually restricted to a few devices (it used to be 5 for Sony, it is now 2), a few allowed copies (something that goes against the law of many countries), and is in general a major pain in the a##. People who bought Ubisoft games recently might know what I am talking about. Bottom line is, DRMs are not doing what they are supposed to do.
Sony think they might have a solution, by providing a patent which proposes to recognize a user through biometrics, such as their fingerprints, iris, or DNA. Such a system they say, would allow to create a system such as “By associating content with an authorized user, each download may be made unique so that only the authorized user (e.g., one who has paid for the content) will be able to access it. Such a technique may be used to prevent hacking or copying to steal music, software, video games or other copyrighted content“.
In other parts of the patent, Sony explain: “the invention can be used to prevent unauthorized sharing of online accounts. A biometric identifier, such as a fingerprint ID, that is generated during ordinary use of the online content allows the content server to determine whether a user attempting to access an online account is the user associated with that account.”
Sony also mentions improvements to targeted advertising, when your device (potentially your console) knows who is actually currently using it.
Well, I’m all for the possibility to play the content I purchased everywhere I want. But storing my DNA on the servers of the number 1 target of hackers worldwide is definitely not the solution to that. How about we simply get rid of DRMs, and let people enjoy the content they purchased however they want? Last time I checked, selling mp3s without DRM seemed to work pretty well for companies like Apple and Amazon. HumbleBundle is doing great with DRM free video games, etc…
Hopefully, this is one of those patents that get filled but never used… How about you, would you like Sony to play with your biometric information? Do you think hacks in the future will require you to alter your DNA with the help of radioactive injections?