“These topics don’t need to be taboo. The more transparent we are about the risks, and educate consumers on safety, the more trust we build. How do we welcome people in, and help them learn about the impacts – good, bad, and ugly.”says a well-known entrepreneur, strategy consultant, a regular speaker at global industry events, and a recent co-Founder of Talle, Bianca Lopes.

Bianca Lopes

Bianca Lopes

You can read the first part of our exclusive interview HERE, where B. Lopes talks about women in cybersecurity. This is the second part where we discuss the paranoia surrounding biometrics and the lack of communication.

Did you always know that working in the tech industry was what you wanted to do? 

Not at all, not at all! If you had asked me when I first started university, I would have told you I wanted to be a diplomat. 

A diplomat?! So what made you get into cybersecurity?

It was a collection of things. The thing that intrigued and challenged me was that the industry was moving really really fast. I was very fascinated about learning in general, and there was certainly A LOT to learn. 

I saw how technology moving into in every part of my life. Usually, and I’m generalizing, there are two types of people: people who say “technology scares me, and I’m just a user,” and others who say “I want to figure out how it works.” I’m the latter type and oftenI say to myself: If I use it, I might as well know how this damn thing works! (laughs)

As a child, I always asked why and how. And from there my career choices led me to finance, and finance lead me to technology. 

What changes do you expect to see in the tech industry within the next, say, 5-10 years?

There are so many things that are going to change. One could sit here and say: Well, I believe AI and cloud computing is going to do bla bla bla bla and bore you to death tofeed their ego (laughs). I’ve always preferred to make things more human and challenge my team at Talle to connect tech back to the impact on everyday people.

I think there is an inevitable understanding of the importance of what digital identity is going to be. It’s not something new, it’s something that’s continuing to gain exposure as we are connecting and uploading everything in our digital lives. 

I expect to see an increase in human behavior being dependent on connectivity. I expect to see a world where we will have a  stock exchange for data. Data will be a currency, and many will argue it already is. 

On a societal note, I hope that we stop measuring ourselves by the number of likes or followers, and take this power away from the technology that is support to help and support us to connect with each other.. 

I would love to see tech that brings platforms  back to quality and substance vs. popularity and content driven by algorithms that can do more harm than good I always ask, how is technology truly connecting us together, for the better? 

Basically, social media is based on two things – data and likes. People share the most intimate information just to get likes.

This is true. But it’s also dangerous if we accept it as a norm and standard. I think there are messy conversations to be had about mental health in our social media world. I would love to see humans being more self-aware, and we are trending towards more conscious conversations. I hope tech can support this work. That would be a headline I would be very happy to share, and like! 

You’re the CEO of a biometric company. Biometrics is quite a confusing term to grasp. How do you explain it to the general public?

Biometrics as tech trend spiked around 9/11 as a national security measure. It had been mostly used for police enforcement, and now it’s interesting to see its proliferation into our lives.Biometrics simply put is a tool. To authenticate and verify who someone is based on biomarkers such as facial recognition or fingerprint scans. Think about using your finger to unlock your smartphone.

What is most exciting is when this tool, this technology is leveraged to change people’s lives. This is innovation at work. I’ve worked many biometrics applications, and explored use-cases with different financial and governmental institutions worldwide. For instance, moving beyond accessing buildings and devices, how can biometrics be used to authentiate identities of undocumented citizens, potentially supporting their access to government services or financial institutions to bank the unbanked. It’s really exciting what is ahead for the global identity industry. 

biometric data

Biometrics have started replacing document-based identification

What about the safety of biometrics? There are many concerns regarding the security of biometrics: researchers find many loopholes. Usually, it all comes down to the implementation. 

Yes, as with any technology, it depends on how you implement it and the learning and consumer education thats available to support adoption. A lot of the biometrics used out there don’t require liaisons, meaning a double-check to ensure there a real human on the other side. 

When consumers can YouTube videos of people “hacking” biometrics tools with replications of a human face, it doesn’t scream secure and safe. The technology has come a long way and now in Brasil there have been over 5 billion secure authentications that get done using finger-print technology at ATMs.

Implementation needs to be tied to good consumer education to highlight the ways this tech improves security, and calm the fears and fake news that slow adoption. 

I also think ecosystem leaders working together to build standards for interoperability is vital to this work. Currently the piecemeal systems that are working in silos add more risk and make it easier for the bad-guys to beat the system. Breaches and hacks only instil more fear, slowing adoption for all players. At Talle, we believe that building this connected network and sharing insights is how leaders can show consumers they care about security.

bianca lopes

Bianca Lopes as seen through our illustrator’s eyes

There’s a lot of paranoia regarding biometrics. Where do you think this comes from?

It’s the same paranoia surrounding most things. And the best antidote to paranoia is education and increasing consumer literacy around technology. People need to understand. Frankly, vendors don’t make it easy. Where is this education coming from? What is the role of business leaders in this work? How do we increase transparency and communication about these technologies to start conversations with everyday people? While industry remains silent and complacent, the media loves feeding this fear. 

Every news article out there is about a breach. There are not enough articles that explain to people that every time you post a photo or a selfie, you’re actually giving away your data. You just don’t see it happening, and happily welcome the likes and followers. What if your data could work for you? How would you negotiate its value? Would you give it up for free? 

And there’s another phenomenon which isn’t helping – it’s called the data breach fatigue. People are getting apathetic toward the safety of their data.

This is very alarming, and a sign of overwhelm leading to apathy. Again, we need to educate people vs. scare them. Fear is no way of building a relationship. Yes, some would say: “Well, but we need to warn people.” No, you need to give them a vocabulary, you need to provide them with the tools to understand. 

Look at Starbucks – they built a language around a coffee. It’s just coffee, and not the best if you ask me, but as a brand  they made people feel safe,included, and part of a community. How can we do this in tech? How can we do away with jargon and acronyms? These topics don’t need to be taboo. 

The more transparent we are about the risks, and educate consumers on safety, the more trust we build.  How do we welcome people in and help them learn about the impacts – good, bad, and ugly. 

Or how explanatory is your content ideas and content? Like I say – are you able to explain to your mom what is that you do.

The smartest people I know can sound the simplest. And we live in a world where media and communications need to be simple and connect with the human element. The problem with the industry is that a lot of people have big egos and looove to sound complicated instead of actually getting down to explaining what they do. 

Intelligence is only as powerful as your ability to communicate it to others, that is what I love about your work. We need more leaders and organizations with this lens and focus on consumer education.