Hollywood & Biometrics

Hollywood has surely amazed its audience through its film varieties. The use of technology and effects has always been a USP of many Hollywood films. But we are not going to discuss all of it; rather we would touch the simple aspect, the use of biometric technology in films. Also, in this post we would discuss the privacy issues related to celebrities and biometrics.

Many crime, sci-fi, and action films use the technology to create visuals. But one fact that you shall know is that Hollywood always portrays Biometrics the wrong way, at least most of the time.

Here’s how:

Police want to find a terrorist/criminal on the loose. They get information that he/she is in a crowded market. So they quickly use facial recognition system over the market’s CCTV footage to identify the person. In reality, facial recognition doesn’t work that fast. It works based on some algorithms and could only be used to match separate pictures like passport, or ID card.

Secondly, identifying a dead person’s face through a photograph is not that easy as his/her eyes are usually shut. Many biometric systems won’t start monitoring without eyes. And for several other reasons like light conditions, moving angles, distances, hairstyles, etc. finding a match is tough.

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Remember, James Bond or Jason Bourne using somebody else’s fake fingerprints to scan through the machine and gain access to whatever they seek? Well, in reality, such fakes could be easily identified by the machine. Getting access to a print or dismembered finger doesn’t let you gain entry as biometric machines are too smart for that. Plus, these agents do have a busy day in the field, with the possibility that their hands might be dirty or cut, such flaws, the machine could easily detect. If the authentication is wrong, the machine would ask for all finger-scanning, enough time for the crooks to catch our hero/heroine.

Iris recognition is superb and precise but its portrayal in films is not-so-accurate. The scanners are powerful enough to scan eyes within split seconds and from 5-feet away. But in films, the actors have to first stand, and then place their eye and then wait till the scanner scans the whole eye.

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Secondly, many spies and agents carry an eyeball like Tom Cruise used to carry in Minority Report. Eyeballs are very tender and could easily lose shape thereby falsifying the authentication.


As the entertainment and showbiz industry grows, celebrities’ privacy risks grow equally. Once face becomes utterly important. Apps could now scan a celebrity’s image from TV to give the celebrity’s name.

Insurance companies take actors body scans in case they die during production. Hence, studios could license the scanned face and paste it in a digital doll with another actor’s movement affecting the original actor’s privacy and confidence. This trend is hardly seen but we all know how fast technology spreads!

In conclusion, we all want to ignore the reality as we sit inside a theatre to enjoy our film? Things like technology, even though incorrect, appeals audience’s eyes thereby letting them not to think about the details which is fine. But our job’s to share information and so we did.


by Fahad A. Khan