No, this is the old Soviet Union, though the KGB would have loved this new machine. Russia is testing a new ATM that has a lie detector built-in. It is hoped that it will be able to prevent fraud.
Consumers with no previous relationship with the bank could talk to the machine to apply for a credit card, with no human intervention required on the bank’s end.
The machine scans a passport, records fingerprints and takes a three-dimensional scan for facial recognition. And it uses voice-analysis software to help assess whether the person is truthfully answering questions that include “Are you employed?” and “At this moment, do you have any other outstanding loans?”
The big bank involved, Sberbank, whose majority owner is the Russian government, said it intended to install the new machines in malls and bank branches around the country eventually, but had not yet scheduled the rollout. Technology consultants say the machines, if they go into commercial use, would be the banking world’s first use of voice analysis in A.T.M.’s.
Although most Russians are used to and expect this kind of intrusiveness from the government, most people in the West will see these machines as a massive invasion of privacy. Indeed. Who would want to give up so much information to a machine?
A prototype of the machine is on display at Sberbank’s Branch of the Future laboratory in a nondescript office building above a Moscow subway station.
The lab bristles with biometric surveillance technology. When a person walks in, a facial-recognition camera takes note, and an artificial voice cheerily greets known customers. Or, more often, it utters a glum, “Hello, you are not registered,” because only a few of the lab’s staff members have had their faces scanned so far.
Sberbank says that to comply with the part of the privacy law that would prohibit a company from keeping a database of customers’ voice signatures, the bank plans to store customers’ voice prints on chips contained in their credit cards.
Oy vey! What kind of person so readily gives up so many biometric identifiers? In one fail swoop, it gets your passport information, fingerprints, facial scan, voice and video samples, credit card information, and banking information. No thank you.