External Body Features Viewed as ‘What We Are’
Body features are no more than body features
Can you be happy to see your external body features declared to be ‘what you are’?
Quite a few security experts have long asserted that there are three components for identity authentication – ‘What We Remember’ (Secret Credential), ‘What We Have’ (Tokens and Cards) and ‘What We Are (Body Features).
Feeding a correct secret credential is under our control. So is presenting a correct token or card to some extent. But our body features are just beyond our control. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to call it ‘What Our Body Features Are’?
Furthermore, whether the secret credential is correct or not is ‘Yes or No’, in other words, it is deterministic. So are the token and card. But measurements of our body features give us the answer as X% probable and Y% improbable. It has to be inevitably probabilistic due to the inherent nature of body features of living animals that we can by no means put under our control.
‘What we remember’ and ‘What we have’, which are both deterministic, can be used together in a security-enhancing ‘two-layer’ deployment, whereas probabilistic ‘what our body features are’ can actually be used with another factor only in a security-lowering ‘two-entrance’ deployment.
As such we have now come to observe that we actually have two factors of ‘what we remember’ and ‘what we have’ as valid authenticators for identity assurance, with ‘what our body features are’ to be counted in cyberspace as an optional tool to increase convenience at the sacrifice of security.
It might sound a bit outrageous to the old school who have long taken it for granted that ‘what we are’ is made of our external body features. But we are confident that the public will agree with us at the end of the day.
What makes ‘What We Are’
Cognitive science supports the observation that our sense of self is made of our memory, especially a part of our autobiographic memory named episodic memory. This observation of our identity is also supported by a number of philosophers. We can rely on these observations for stating that what makes ‘what we are’ is ‘what we remember’.
We may be a minority in the domain of cyber security and identity management at present, but it does not affect what is correct and what is wrong.
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