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Biometrics are automated methods of recognizing a person based on a physiological or behavioral characteristic. Among the features measured are face, fingerprints, hand geometry, handwriting, iris, retinal, vein, and voice. Biometric technologies are becoming the foundation of an extensive array of highly secure identification and personal verification solutions. As the level of security breaches and transaction fraud increases, the need for highly secure identification and personal verification technologies is becoming apparent. Biometric-based solutions are able to provide for confidential financial transactions and personal data privacy.


  • Increased Security Concerns

Increasing security concerns ranging from individual identity theft and corporate security to national security are driving the biometric market around the world.

  • Convenience

Use of biometrics eliminates the need to remember several different passwords and pin codes for consumers.

  • Advancements in science & technology

Advancements have helped to create more methods of using biometrics.

  • Interoperability

Although this was an issue with earlier systems, several initiatives have been taken to allow biometric devices to work across systems.


  • Cost

Biometric devices are more expensive to deploy than traditional access control systems such as passwords and key cards.

  • Accuracy

Although the accuracy of the biometric devices has improved considerably over the last few years, there are still problems of false rejects.

  • Misuse of Data

There are concerns that the personal data obtained from biometric systems could be misused. This could include identity theft where a hacker could reverse engineer biometric data when it is being transferred from a sensor to a central repository.<br\> The use of biometric information to track individuals is also a real possibility. For example: Facial recognition systems could be used to track the whereabouts of people without their knowledge.

  • Religious Objections

Certain Christians interpret biometrics to be a “Mark of the Beast.” Although such religious objections to biometrics are nor expected to be widespread, they must be taken seriously because of societal and legal emphasis on respect for sincerely held religious beliefs.


The evolution of biometrics has enabled a new age for security. However at the same time it has raised concerns over the right to privacy. While biometrics do offer many benefits there is a realization that a balance between the need for security and the right to privacy is needed. At present, the benefits seem to outweigh the drawbacks and the increase in biometric use seems to be inevitable.


1858: First systematic capture of hand images for identification purposes is recorded<br\> 1892: Galton develops a classification system for fingerprints<br\> 1903: NY State Prisons begins using fingerprints<br\> 1936: Concept of using the iris pattern for identification is proposed<br\> 1960s: Face recognition becomes semi-automated<br\> 1969: FBI pushes to make fingerprint recognition an automated process<br\> 1976: First prototype system for speaker recognition is developed<br\> 1992: Biometric Consortium is established within US Government<br\> 1996: Hand geometry is implemented at the Olympic Games<br\> 2001: Face recognition is used at the Super Bowl in Tampa, Florida<br\> 2003: European Biometrics Forum is established

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