Fingerprint Recognition on Mobile Devices: Widely Deployed, Rarely Understood


Fingerprint Recognition on Mobile Devices: Widely Deployed, Rarely Understood


Farzaneh Karegar, John Sören Pettersson and Simone Fischer-Hübner


Only a few studies have addressed the users’ conception of how fingerprint recognition used for different purposes on mobile devices works. This study contributes by investigating how different groups of individuals think that the fingerprint recognition works, why they think so, and also by pointing out differences in pin code and fingerprint issues. The study furthermore yields some results concerning individuals’ attitudes towards how sensitive the use of fingerprint sensors is: non-users tended to be more afraid of third-party access than users. On the other hand, users tended to regard the fingerprint pattern as more sensitive than non-users. This study also manages to give some methodological contributions, namely that mockup user interfaces do not bias the parameters studied in this paper (e.g. understanding of access to fingerprint data), and that self-estimation of knowledge in Computer Security is not a good indicator of respondents’ understanding of fingerprint security and privacy. Moreover, people who connected a low degree of sensitivity to fingerprint patterns gave very different reasons for their estimation of sensitivity. This prompts for more research, as it is unclear if different groups would benefit from different information and modes of visualisation to understand what are the issues involved in fingerprint recognition on mobile devices.



Place and Date 

Hamburg, Germany, August 27-30, 2018