powered by Fotopedia
Hollywood envisaged plain white simplicity and automatic ‘swoosh’ doors but now biometric eye,
voice, face, and fingertip recognition are all prominent features of the typical Sci-Fi flick.
Sci-Fi is not the only genre afflicted of biometric identification technology. From James Bond to
Professor Xavier, the majority of recent well known action, thriller, superhero and spy movies are
likely to feature someone’s eye or hand being used as a substitute for a passport or key.
But which films have used biometric technology best as a cinematic tool?
Minority Report (2002)
Perhaps the most referenced film on the topic of biometric technology. Invasive identification is
a major plot line and dramatic device that reveals a stark grim message about the reality of our
diminishing privacy. Animated ad billboards use iris recognition to identify and subject directed
messages to passers-by, fingerprint scanning is used regularly to gain/deny access to buildings, and
later in the film - the protagonist Tom Cruise has to undergo eye surgery to replace his eyeballs to
X-Men is ripe with biometric identification and clever mutation tricks to bypass them. The massive
powerful device Cerebro is used to detect humans and identify mutants. It uses an iris scan
configured for Professor Xavier to gain access control to the weirdly shaped spherical room.
District 9 (2009)
The alien ‘prawns’ have DNA encoded guns to ensure no other species can control their weaponry.
This makes for one of the main plot lines of the film, as the humans strive to understand and use this
alien technology as their own biometric guns. When the lead protagonist becomes infected, he has
the ability to operate the ‘prawn’ guns.
The Incredibles (2004)
The Incredibles gets a deserved mention due to the full package of biometric identification systems.
Edna Mode’s secret den is fully equipped with hand scan, personal identification number, iris can,
and finally a voice verification system. Other uses in the film include the facial recognition tablet sent
to Mr. Incredible via envelope to confirm his identity.
Fiction Is Quickly Becoming Reality
Biometric identification technology has come a long way since Minority Report. Technology such as
the new biometric Japanese CCTV cameras that can identify passers-by instantly, are on the horizon.
But there is a growing fear about the intrusion of our privacy.
Many of these films highlight the problems with biometric identification and the fraud that may come with it. Perhaps the physicality of ID card printing for passports and driver’s licences means that for loss or fraud it is just as simple as ordering a new replacement. There are new possible complications created by a biometric database. Advanced cyber fraud and hacking will forever be a problem, meaning that a stolen identity may have more serious consequences.
What films would you include on this list?
Author Bio: Gavin Harvey has watched enough films over the years to consider himself a film buff. He regularly writes for IdPro.