Verifying, Reading and Screening - Biometric Technology Today

By: Jens Wegner

Biometric technology involves using personal characteristics of individuals that are so unique it is almost impossible to copy them. There are two areas of biometric technology that are used for the purpose of security and identifying individuals. They are physiological traits and behaviors. Physiological traits include fingerprints, face recognition, hand prints, finger prints, and identifying the iris of the eyes. Behaviors include handwriting and voice patterns.

To determine if a characteristic is unique enough to be used in biometric technology, it has to pass several tests. First, the characteristic must be universal – meaning it has to be found in each and every person regardless of their race or gender. The level of uniqueness of the characteristic is carefully studied and evaluated. Further studies have to ensure that characteristic can’t be copied or altered. There also has to be testing to prove that the characteristic won’t change on its own over time as the person ages. Some characteristics currently being tested with biometric technology include ear recognition, hand veins, and the odor of the individual.

The process of accessing information or getting past security when biometric technology is involved is a relatively fast process as long as all the key factors are in place. There is a sensor in place that reads the particular characteristic or characteristics used for identification purposes. The feature is extracted, read, and compared with the information stored in the system. The match is either confirmed and the person is given access or the match is denied.

For any biometric technology system to be effective it has to be able to successfully complete three functions: verifying information, reading identification, and successfully screening individuals. Careful testing and monitoring of biometric systems is done on a routine basis. It is vital that they system is not allowing non-matching individuals into the secure areas.

While biometric technology offers many wonderful solutions for high security measures, it does have some pitfalls that need to be addressed. In the rare event that a fingerprint is stolen and accessed, what does that individual do? They aren’t able to go change their fingerprint like someone can cancel or change a password. As with any other type of technology, as more is learned it can be implemented. However, you will always have those who continue to try to hack into such systems no matter how complicated and well laid out they are.

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