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Is This High-Tech Rearview Mirror Worth the Risks?

Here's why it's being described as "dystopian."

It wouldn’t be the Consumer Electronic Show without at least some technology on display that’s being described as “dystopian.” At least that’s the word is using in its report on the world’s most high tech rearview mirror.

You may well be wondering -- just what can be done to the unassuming rearview mirror that could possibly be contentious or creepy? Let’s see how you feel about this technology from Michigan-based auto component company Gentex that integrates iris-scanning.

These mirrors, which reportedly will debut this week at CES, allow a quick iris scan to confirm driver data, which can quickly trigger preferences like seat position and climate control. According to Gentex, they’ll also have records of transactional data like when and where you last got gas -- and how much you paid.

And if you’re not that impressed with the seemingly uneven trade of your biometrics in exchange for your seat warmer popping on automatically, Jalopnik says the technology is poised to go much further. Iris scans could be used to control who drives your vehicle, and how. Not only could you limit the speed at which your teenager could drive, you could perhaps even prevent your car from being stolen if it won’t start for an “unauthorized” driver.

Gentex says the tech is probably still a few years away, and it would be most effective if its integrated into a vehicle’s overall engineering. So the question is, do we want it? Biometrics are still hackable -- as proven by an experiment where hackers placed a contact lens over a photo of a user’s eye and were able to break into a iris-scan protected Samsung device. Secondly, concerns over how our biometric information could be exploited for data mining makes this, for many, still not quite worth the risk.

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