Report: Biometrics

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  Biometric technologies

In what follows there is a brief description of the principal biometric technologies, whose respective proponents - producers, research laboratories, think tanks - mostly tend to claim superiority over the others. A frequently used definition of "biometric" is that of a "unique, measurable characteristic or trait of a human being for automatically recognizing or verifying identity" (; biometrics is the study and application of such measurable characteristics. In IT environments, biometrics are categorised as "security" technologies meant to limit access to information, places and other resources to a specific group of people.

All biometric technologies are made up of the same basic processes:

1. A sample of a biometric is first collected, then transformed into digital information and stored as the "biometric template" of the person in question.

2. At every new identification, a second sample is collected and its identity with the first one is examined.

3. If the two samples are identical, the persons identity is confirmed, i.e. the system knows who the person is.

This means that access to the facility or resource can be granted or denied. It also means that information about the persons behaviour and movements has been collected. The system now knows who passed a certain identification point at which time, at what distance from the previous time, and it can combine these data with others, thereby appropriating an individual's data body.

browse Report:
-2   Identity vs. Identification
-1   Identificaiton in history
0   Biometric technologies
+1   Face recognition
+2   Iris recognition
+3   fingerprint identification
Biometrics applications: privacy issues