Ordinary businesses scanning your every move

abstract of an eye
abstract of an eye

When the 24 Hour Fitness chain announced it was scanning the fingerprints of members for entry into its gyms, the move was hailed as a step forward in preventing fraud and criticized as a step backward into Big Brother territory. But no matter how you feel about the tech-enhanced measures that businesses now take to keep an eye on you, know that they're here to stay.

Companies will be spending $7.4 billion on so-called biometric technologies by 2012, Victor Lee, a senior consultant with the International Biometric Group (IBG), told SC Magazine, a publication for IT security professionals. Fingerprint-recognition will occupy 38.1% of the market; face recognition, 19%; iris recognition, 7.7%. One older technology, blood vein pattern recognition, can still hang with the gizmo'd up new kids and is expected to grab 10% of the security budget.

Some of these outfits are not normally associated with high security needs. Remember the Rockwell song that goes, "I always feel like somebody's watching me"? You'll be singing that tune from the ATM to the candy dispenser. The following are everyday enterprises that in their own way have joined the surveillance generation.