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Biometrics

Biometrics

Biometrics is a field of science that uses computer technology to identify people based on physical or behavioral characteristics such as fingerprints or voice scans. "Bio" in the name refers to the physiological traits measured; "metrics" refers to the quantitative analysis that provides a positive identification of an individual. Biometrics is gaining widespread use in the business world as means to make the workplace more secure and efficient. The technology promises almost foolproof security for facilities and computer networks. It also helps employees increase their productivity by providing instant identification for time cards, payroll processing, computer logins, phone or copy machine usage, and myriad other purposes. In the age of terrorism, biometrics is increasingly recruited to help in tracking potentially dangerous individuals.

"The biometrics industry, which produces technologies to identify people by their natural biological features, such as fingerprints, the patterns in the eye's iris, and facial characteristicsthe stuff of Mission Impossible is sensing the chance to break out of high-tech security doors and enter the mainstream of daily life," Julian Perkin wrote in the Financial Times. "Biometrics are enjoying good reviews from the businesses that have integrated them into their systems to date," Sheila Smith Drapeau added in the Westchester County Business Journal. "They are proving themselves reliable, time efficient, affordable, and easy to useanother nod to shaving a few dollars off the office payroll. And their popularity is expected to skyrocket as aging baby boomers concerned with memory loss eagerly seek an alternative to remembering passwords, numerical systems, and their car keys." The U.S. Government is deploying biometrics as well. On January 1, 2006, the U.S. State Department announced the installation of biometric "entry systems" at U.S. land ports. According to the State Department release, "The program compares bio-metric data such as digital and inkless fingerscans and digital photos, as well as biographical information collected by the Department of State, against U.S. terrorist and criminal watch lists to identify and intercept criminals and violators who try to enter the United States."

One benefit of biometrics is that it relieves people from the burden of remembering dozens of different passwords to company computer networks, e-mail systems, Web sites, etc. In addition to creating distinct passwords for each system they use or Web site they visit, people are expected to change their passwords frequently. Employees who have trouble remembering their passwords may be more likely to keep a written list in a desk drawer or posted on a bulletin board, thus creating a security risk. But biometrics offers an easy solution to this problem. "An employee may not be able to remember a dozen passwords and PINs, but is very unlikely to forget or misplace his or her thumb," P.J. Connolly wrote in InfoWorld.

A related problem with passwords is that they do not provide reliable security. In fact, hackers can download password-cracking software for free on the Internet that will test the most obvious combinations of characters for each user on a system and often find a way in. Electronic retailers have found that their prospective customers are aware of the unreliable nature of password-based security systems. A survey conducted by Yankelovich Partners and reported in Entrepreneur indicated that security concerns prevent 31 percent of Internet users from making purchases online. Installing a biometrics-based security system is likely to impress customers who are concerned about Web site security. "You may already have the solution to all your security needs right in the palm of your handor, more likely, at your fingertips," Mike Hogan noted in Entrepreneur. "That's because biometrics offers an answer to all security and authorization issues."

Biometrics systemswhich once cost tens of thousands of dollars to installwere originally used only by large corporations and the government. But now less expensive systemscosting as little as a few hundred dollars per desktopare making the technology available to smaller businesses and individual consumers. As a result, analysts believe that the usage of biometrics will grow over the next few years, so that the technology will become prevalent on the Internet as well as in businesses. Several recent developments have helped assure the future of biometrics. For example, digital signature legislation passed in 2000 provided for biometric authentication to be accepted in place of a written signature and considered legally binding on documents. In addition, Microsoft announced that it would support biometric technology in future versions of Windows, making it easier to build Internet and network servers that can accept the biometric identifications. Before long, biometric scanning devices may be bundled into every new PC sold.

One of the first general applications of biometric technology may be in the health care industry. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act recommended biometric authentication for health care facilities and insurance providers and set high penalties for improper or negligent disclosure of medical information. At some time in the future, every U.S. citizen's medical records may be available online and accessible with biometric authentication. This would allow individuals to access their records from a pharmacy or an emergency room far from home. It would also allow physicians to share case information and expertise online. However, many people still have concerns about privacy and worry that the online availability of medical records might affect their ability to change jobs or obtain insurance.

HOW BIOMETRICS SYSTEMS WORK

The main biometrics systems on the market work by scanning an individual's fingerprints, hands, face, iris, retina, voice pattern, signature, or strokes on a keyboard. According to Hogan, finger scanning accounts for 34 percent of biometric system sales, followed by hand scanning with 26 percent, face scanning with 15 percent, voice scanning and eye scanning with 11 percent each, and signature scanning with 3 percent. Retinal scanningwhich reads the blood vessels in the back of the eye and requires the user to be within six inches of the scanning deviceis the most accurate system but also the least likely to enjoy widespread use because of people's natural protectiveness toward their eyes.

Once the scanner reads the user's physiological information, the computer begins analyzing it. "The system reads the physical or behavioral characteristic, looks for telltale minutiae, and applies an algorithm that uniquely expresses those minutiae as a very large alphanumeric key," Bill Orr explained in the ABA Banking Journal. "This sample key then goes to a repository where it is compared with a key (called a template) that was created by the approved user when she enrolled in the system. This in turn generates a score based on how closely the two samples match."

Some experts suggest that the various types of biometric technologies will be combined as needed to fit different user applications. "If you already have a telephone in your hand, the most natural thing in the world is to use voice scanning for identification," Samir Nanavati of the International Biometric Group told Hogan. "If you're already typing at a keyboard, the unique pattern of how you type makes the most sense. And if you need an electronic signature anyway, why not do a biometric match for identification purposes?"

For companies hoping to incorporate some form of biometrics into their facility or computer security systems, the most difficult aspect of the process might be making various systems work together. "The tough part of implementing a biometric method isn't choosing between face, fingerprint, and voice pattern recognition but integrating the chosen method with your existing applications," Connolly acknowledged in InfoWorld. Even though biometric scanners are becoming more affordable, Web site operators still have to buy authentication and authorization servers that can accept the biometric identifications. However, some vendors are beginning to offer these services for companies that are unable to maintain a biometric server in-house.

Perhaps the most difficult obstacle to overcome in adopting biometric technology is employee or customer concern about its invasiveness. For example, many people think the technology could be used to collect fingerprints for a huge database. "But that's not how it works," Hogan noted. "While biometrics may make you more efficient at matching your Web site visitors to the customer profiles you keep of them, it doesn't provide any more information about the user at the point of access than the typical password system."

see also Data Encryption; Internet Security; Counter terrorism

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Connolly, P.J. "Biometrics Comforts Customers while Securing Assets." InfoWorld. 2 April 2001.

Connolly, P.J. "Future Security May Be in the Hands, or Eyes, of UsersBy Eliminating the Need for User Passwords, Biometrics Will Tighten Networks and Save Big IT Money." InfoWorld. 16 October 2000.

Connolly, P.J. "Security Steps into the Spotlight." InfoWorld. 29 January 2001.

Drapeau, Sheila Smith. "Biometrics: Where Science Meets the Company Payroll." Westchester County Business Journal. 5 February 2001.

Fonseca, Brian. "Biometrics Eye the Mainstream Markets." InfoWorld. 15 January 2001.

Hogan, Mike. "Body Language." Entrepreneur. March 2001.

Orr, Bill. "Time to Start Planning for Biometrics." ABA Banking Journal. October 2000.

Perkin, Julian. "New Services Will Keep an Eye on Security: Biometrics." Financial Times. 21 February 2001.

United States Department of State, Press Release. "Biometric Entry System Installed at Final U.S. Land Ports." 1 January 2006

                                   Hillstrom, Northern Lights

                                    updated by Magee, ECDI

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Biometrics

BIOMETRICS

Biometrics is a field of security and identification technology based on the measurement of unique physical characteristics such as fingerprints, retinal patterns, and facial structure. To verify an individual's identity, biometric devices scan certain characteristics and compare them with a stored entry in a computer database. While the technology goes back years and has been used in highly sensitive institutions such as defense and nuclear facilities, the proliferation of electronic data exchange generated new demand for biometric applications that can secure electronically stored data and online transactions.

HOW BIOMETRICS WORKS

Usually, biometric systems require two forms of input for identity verification. Typically, these include the biometric input along with a personal identification number (PIN). Upon receiving the PIN, the computer accesses its stored database and locates the biometric template for that individual. The computer scans the two biological features looking for differences and, if it produces an exact match, verifies the individual's identity and grants access. In a simple identification system, on the other hand, the computer receives no cues from PINs or access cards, and scans its entire database of biometric templates looking for a match. As a result, these systems must be more powerful.

TYPES OF BIOMETRIC SYSTEMS

FINGERPRINTS.

Fingerprint-based biometric systems scan the dimensions, patterns, and topography of fingers, thumbs, and palms. The most common biometric in forensic and governmental databases, fingerprints contain up to 60 possibilities for minute variation, and extremely large and increasingly integrated networks of these stored databases already exist. The largest of these is the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Automated Fingerprint Identification System, with more than 630 million fingerprint images.

FACIAL RECOGNITION.

Facial recognition systems vary according to the features they measure. Some look at the shadow patterns under a set lighting pattern, while others scan heat patterns or thermal images using an infrared camera that illuminates the eyes and cheekbones. These systems are powerful enough to scope out the minutest differences in facial patterns, even between identical twins. The hardware for facial recognition systems is relatively inexpensive, and is increasingly installed in computer monitors.

EYE SCANS.

There are two main features of the eye that are targeted by biometric systems: the retina and the iris. Each contains more points of identification than a fingerprint. Retina scanners trace the pattern of blood cells behind the retina by quickly flashing an infrared light into the eye. Iris scanners create a unique biological bar code by scanning the eye's distinctive color patterns. Eye scans tend to occupy less space in a computer and thus operate relatively quickly, although some users are squeamish about having beams of light shot into their eyes.

VOICE VERIFICATION.

Although voices can sound similar and can be consciously altered, the topography of the mouth, teeth, and vocal cords produces distinct pitch, cadence, tone, and dynamics that give away would-be impersonators. Widely used in phone-based identification systems, voice-verification biometrics also is used with personal computers.

HAND GEOMETRY.

Hand-geometry biometric systems take two infrared photographsone from the side and one from aboveof an individual's hand. These images measure up to 90 different characteristics, such as height, width, thickness, finger shape, and joint positions and compare them with stored data.

KEYSTROKE DYNAMICS.

A biometric system that is tailor-made for personal computers, keystroke-dynamic biometrics measures unique patterns in the way an individual uses a keyboardsuch as speed, force, the variation of force on different parts of the keyboard, and multiple-key functionsand exploits them as a means of identification.

FEARS OF MISUSE AND LOSS OF PRIVACY

With the increasing demand for and applications of biometric devices comes serious ethical and legal questions and concerns. Chief among these considerations is privacy. The storing of such intimate biological detail in large networks sparks fear of serious privacy invasion, as well as possibilities for severe misuse. Such fears have hampered the biometric industry's movements into new markets, particularly in the United States where concern for privacy is markedly high. Just how far a business or government has the right to look into the identities of individuals in the name of security was a matter that was just beginning to draw serious attention from government, industry, and various organizations in the early 2000s. The European Union initiated the Data Protection Directive, which called for the implementation of international privacy standards, geared particularly toward electronic information and online transactions. Meanwhile, the U.S. government appointed privacy advocate Peter Swire to facilitate the development of federal privacy policies for e-commerce, databases, and information technology under the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Swire also was to lead in the drafting of an Electronic Bill of Rights.

THE BIOMETRICS MARKET

As biometric technologies have grown more sophisticated and affordable, they have found ever more markets to penetrate. Governmental applications remained the most common at the end of the 20th century, as governments sought to safeguard their sensitive computer networks. But the private sector was adopting the technology at an accelerating rate. Total industry sales were expected to jump from $100 million in 2000 to $600 million by 2006, according to the International Biometrics Industry Association (IBIA), while the International Biometric Group forecast sales of $600 million as early as 2003.

An area that drew intense demand for tight security using biometric devices was online and networked finance, including automatic teller machines (ATMs), electronic record keeping, and e-commerce. As e-commerce grows, so will the number of PCs and handheld computing devices with embedded biometrics system and smart-card readers. Indeed, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, NEC Technologies, DataStrip, and IBM built such security systems into their newer models in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Some machines came outfitted complete with barcode readers and fingerprint readers along with smart-card slots.

Biometrics manufacturers may find their gold mine in the expansion of e-commerce. Smart cards, outfitted with embedded microprocessor chips that can store biometric data as well as personal identification numbers and other pieces of identification, can only be read by a smart card reader. Industry analysts expect them to prove more secure and reliable for making online purchases, accessing bank accounts, and entering secured networks. While the European Smart Card Industry Association (ESCIA) of Brussels, Belgium, reported that only a fraction of the 1.4 billion smart card shipments in 1999 were in the United States, Frost & Sullivan expected U.S. shipments to skyrocket from 14.4 million in 1999 to 114.7 million in 2006. Moreover, the ESCIA predicted that about 30 percent of all online transactions would be based on smart cards by 2005. With more powerful encryption technologies for encoding the sensitive information embedded in smart cards, consumers were expected to feel more at ease making such transactions with biometrics devices online.

FURTHER READING:

Bankston, Karen. "Biometrics: Toys or Tools?" Credit Union Management. January, 2001.

"Biometric Keys to Networks, PCs Finally Come Alive." Security. September 1, 2000.

"Biometrics, Smart Cards On the Rise." Information Security. June, 2000.

"An Evolving Biometrics Market." ID World. November, 1999.

Hammel, Benjamin. "Are Digital Certificates Secure?" Communications News. December 15, 2000.

McGarr, Michael S. "Tuning in Biometrics to Reduce E-commerce Risk." Electronic Commerce World. February, 2000.

"The Measure of Man." The Economist. September 9, 2000.

O'Shea, Timothy, and Mike Lee. "Biometric Authentication ManagementBiometric Authentication Systems Are Being Integrated into Desktop Systems." Network Computing. December 27, 1999.

Pepe, Michele. "Buzz About Biometrics." Computer Reseller News. November 27, 2000.

SEE ALSO: Authentication; Computer Ethics; Computer Security; Privacy: Issues, Policies, Statements

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Biometry

Biometry

Biometry is the application of mathematical models to living systems. The use of statistics and mathematics as a tool for interpreting experimental data has proven invaluable to biologists, public health practitioners, researchers, and environmental scientists in areas such as genetics, toxicology, neurology, and clinical trials. Once considered a fledgling application of mathematics, biometry has proven to be a vital field playing a central role in substantive scientific and social issues of the day.

History of the Discipline

English scientist Francis Galton (1822-1911) is considered the founder of the biometric school. He strongly believed that virtually everything could be proven mathematicallythat everything was quantifiable. Following this belief, Galton's first experiments (performed around 1850) included using statistical models to measure beauty and the effectiveness of prayer. Later, he came up with his own theory to explain inheritance: the theory of ancestral heredity . This theory held that each parent contributes one-half of the offspring's traits, each grandparent one-fourth, and so on.

It was not until the 1940s, though, that the application of statistics to biological questions began to have a profound impact on the scientific community. Scientific articles appeared in various journals, spurring the biometrics section of the American Statistical Association to publish the Biometrics Bulletin, in 1945. Two years later the International Biometric Society (IBS) was established. According to its constitution, the IBS is "an international society for the advancement of biological science through the development of quantitative theories, and the application, development, and dissemination of effective mathematical and statistical techniques." Shortly thereafter, the IBS began publishing Biometrics, a journal directed toward biologists who saw statistics as a powerful tool in their work. Since its inception, Biometrics has been the premiere source for biometry-related scientific articles.

The first biometry studies were primarily concerned with agriculture in its broadest definition, specifically the design of experimental techniques. The first issue of Biometrics illustrates the type of analyses being performed in 1947. Articles included: "Some Uses of Statistical Methods in Plant Breeding," "Statistical Methods in Forestry," "Some Uses of Statistics in Plant Pathology," and "Some Applications of Statistical Methods to Fishery Problems." Biologists soon began writing articles relating more to the actual tools of their trade, such as the manipulation of slide rules, early calculators, and other devices. Indicative of the difficulty of applying complex statistical equations to biological queries in the days of clunky desk calculators, these reports attempted to ease the burden caused by less than stellar technological advances. Stressing the importance of collaboration between statisticians and researchers also became widespread, as the use of biometry in biological experimentation grew more commonplace. By sharing statistical methodologies, experimental designs, and the basic "how's" and "why's" of using appropriate mathematical models, both statisticians and researchers began to carve out a truly unique field of study.

The Expanding Field of Biometry

Medical uses, in the form of clinical trials, were part of the second wave of compelling applications of biometrical principles. The 1954 trial of the poliomyelitis vaccine, in the United States, was considered one of the largest experiments ever conducted. This was also a key precursor to the array of clinical studies conducted in later decades for diseases such as AIDS, cancer, influenza, measles, and malaria. Clinical trials paved the way for biological scientists to explore biometrical doctrines in such areas as social sciences, physical sciences, and engineering.

The widening scope of possibility for biometry has always been reliant on technology. New techniques in exploratory data analysis and computer graphics allow for statistical development in the areas of organismal, cellular, and molecular biology, neuroscience, and neural networks. Attracting enormous attention in the year 2000 was the Human Genome Project . Mapping and sequencing human genes would have been severely limited without the application of mathematical and statistical principles and computational advances. Additionally, the advent of the World Wide Web and expanded communication technologies have had an incredible impact on the sharing of information as well as locating research materials.

When issues involving the environmentecology, global change, biological diversity, oceanography, and meteorological databecame widely apparent in the 1970s, biometrical principles arising mainly out of the geosciences opened up new opportunities for biometricians. Similarly, changes in social and economic conditions, especially in developing nations, also provide a wealth of statistical problems that demand biometrical attention and expertise, much of which depends on new methodologies.

A new field of particular interest is that of "seafloor biology," the birth of which began with the launching of Deep Flight I, a kind of underwater aircraft that was sent to explore the ocean floor. This endeavor will certainly necessitate further innovative developments in statistical methodologies to process and learn from the resulting data.

Ann Guidry

Bibliography

Armitage, Peter, and Herbert A. David, eds. Advances in Biometry: Fifty Years of the International Biometric Society. New York: Wiley, 1996.

Ingelfinger, Joseph A. Biostatistics in Clinical Medicine, 2nd ed. New York: Macmillan, 1987.

McGrath, Kimberley A., ed. World of Biology. Detroit: Gale Group, 1999.

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Biometrics

Biometrics

K. LEE LERNER

Biometrics refers to the measurement of specific physical or behavioral characteristics and the use of that data in identifying subjects. With wide application, biometricbased identification techniques are increasingly an important part of physical and financial security infrastructure because biometric data is difficult, if not impossible, to duplicate or otherwise falsify. Accordingly, biometric systems offer highly accurate means of comparison of measured characteristics to those in a preassembled database.

Biometric identification points include gross morphological appearance that is most often subjectively interpreted upon superficial examination (e.g., gender, race or color of skin, hair and eye color). Other gross biometric data can include more quantifiableand therefore less subjectivedata (e.g., weight, height, location of scars or other visible physical markings).

Some biometric data are easily changeable and therefore not reliable (e.g. presence of facial hair, wearing of glasses, etc.).

Because even objective features such as weight can change over time, systems of identification that rely on changeable or gross features are not as reliable as biometric systems that measure more stable anatomical and physiological characteristics such as fingerprints, retinal blood vessel patterns, specific skull dimensions; dental and skeletal x-rays, earlobe capillary patterns and hand geometry.

The most specific and reliable of biometric data are obtained from DNA sequencing.

More controversial and, at present, less reliable biometric studies seek to enhance quantification of social behaviors, voice characteristicsincluding language use patterns and accentshandwriting and even keystroke input patterns.

Biometric data can be encoded into magnetic stripes, bar codes, and integrated circuit "smart" cards.

On a global scale, biometric data interchange and interoperability standards are at present fragmented into different measurement and input format schemes. The Common Biometric Exchange File Format (CBEFF), in development by the International Biometric Industry Association (IBIA), seeks to integrate such measurement schemes to enhance reliability and use of biometric data. Other integration efforts include the Biometric Application Programming Interface (BioAPI) specification program used by the United States Department of Defense. The Department of Defense has also established a Biometrics Management Office (BMO). BioAPI protocols are also being used by other governmental agencies and the financial service industry in the development of smart cards.

In the private sector, specific organizations regulate need-driven biometric integration schemes. For example, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) establishes specific biometric standards for the financial industry.

One system already with broad integration is used by the American Association for Motor Vehicle Administration (AAMVA). The Driver's License and Identification (DL/ID) standards are used to provide rapid and accurate identification based upon data gathered during the issuance of a driver's license within Canada or the United States.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) also has programs dedicated to biometric research and exchange. NIST developed the initial data protocols used in the Face Recognition Vendor Test (FRVT) and established the format for data collection used by most face recognition technologies.

FURTHER READING:

BOOKS:

Jain, A., A. Bolle, and S. Pankanti. Biometrics, Personal Identification in Networked Society. Norwell, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1999.

PERIODICALS:

Podio F., et al. "Common Biometric Exchange File Format (CBEFF)." NISTIR 6529 (January 3, 2000).

ELECTRONIC:

NIST Biometric Interoperability, Performance and Assurance Working Group (May, 2003) <http://www.nist.gov/bcwg> (May, 10, 2003).

SEE ALSO

APIS (Advance Passenger Information System)
Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV)
Facility Security
Fingerprint Analysis
Forensic Voice and Tape Analysis
IBIS (Interagency Border Inspection System)
IDENT (Automated Biometric Identification System)
INSPASS (Immigration and Naturalization Service Passenger Accelerated Service System)
Los Alamos National Laboratory
NAILS (National Automated Immigration Lookout System)
NIST (United States National Institute of Standards and Technology)
PORTPASS (Port Passenger Accelerated Service System)
Retina and Iris Scans
SENTRI (Secure Electronic Network for Travelers' Rapid Inspection)

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Biometrics

Biometrics

Biometrics refers to the measurement of specific physical or behavioral characteristics and the use of that data in identifying subjects. With wide application, biometric-based identification techniques are increasingly an important part of forensic science investigations because biometric data is difficult, if not impossible, to duplicate or otherwise falsify. Examples of such data include retinal or iris scans, fingerprints, hand geometry, and facial features. Accordingly, biometric systems offer highly accurate means of comparison of measured characteristics to those in a preassembled database.

Biometric identification points include gross morphological appearance that is most often subjectively interpreted upon superficial examination (e.g., gender, race or color of skin, hair, and eye color). Other gross biometric data can include more quantifiableand therefore less subjectivedata (e.g., weight, height, location of scars or other visible physical markings). Some biometric data is easily changeable and therefore not reliable (e.g. presence of facial hair, wearing of glasses, etc.).

Because even objective features such as weight can change over time, systems of identification that rely on changeable or gross features are not as reliable as biometric systems that measure more stable anatomical and physiological characteristics such as fingerprints, retinal blood vessel patterns, specific skull dimensions, dental and skeletal x rays, earlobe capillary patterns, and hand geometry.

The most specific and reliable of biometric data is obtained from DNA sequencing .

More controversial and, at present, less reliable biometric studies seek to enhance quantification of social behaviors, voice characteristicsincluding language use patterns and accentshandwriting, and even keystroke inputs patterns.

Biometric data can be encoded into magnetic stripes, bar codes, and integrated circuit "smart" cards.

On a global scale, biometric data interchange and interoperability standards are at present fragmented into different measurement and input format schemes. The Common Biometric Exchange File Format (CBEFF), in development by the International Biometric Industry Association (IBIA), seeks to integrate such measurement schemes to enhance reliability and use of biometric data. Other integration efforts include the Biometric Application Programming Interface (BioAPI) specification program used by the United States Department of Defense. The Department of Defense has also established a Biometrics Management Office (BMO). BioAPI protocols are also being used by other governmental agencies and the financial service industry in the development of smart cards.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) also dedicates programs to biometric research and exchange. NIST developed the initial data protocols used in the Face Recognition Vendor Test (FRVT) and established the format for data collection used by most face recognition technologies.

Finally, reflecting the power of biometrics in forensic science, police forces are increasingly equipping themselves with the technical and personnel expertise to undertaken biometric examinations. These efforts are aided by the Internet, which allows police forces to access databases and share information on a global scale.

see also Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS); Digital imaging; DNA fingerprint; Fingerprint; Hair analysis; Handwriting analysis; Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS).

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biometrics (in security and personal identification)

biometrics, in security and personal identification, the electronic verification of individuals using biological traits, such as iris or retinal scanning, fingerprints, or face recognition, and the technology used in verification. The main operations involved in a biometric system are called enrollment and test; during enrollment an individual's biometric information is collected and stored, while during test the incoming information is compared against the version stored during enrollment. A functioning system typically answers three questions: Is the person who he or she claims to be (verification)? Who is the person (identification)? Is there anything special about the person, for example, is he or she allowed access to a restricted area (screening)? The increasing use of biometric systems in both industrial (e.g., attendance tracking) and security (e.g., airport check-in) environments has raised privacy concerns. Additionally, reports of commercially available units being compromised have raised security issues, and medical issues, such as retinal scanners transmitting infections, also exist. Nonetheless, the early 21st cent. has seen an increasing use of the technology in the United States and Great Britain in schools, especially as replacements for library cards and meal tickets, and in a number of nations in passports and identification cards.

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biometrics (in biology)

biometrics, also known as biostatistics or biometry, in biology, the development and application of statistical and mathematical methods to the analysis of data resulting from biological observations and phenomena. Biometrics is used in clinical trials evaluating the relative effectiveness of different therapies; in genetic and genomic studies of the makeup of nucleotide sequences in an organism; in epidemiological studies of the patterns, causes, and control of diseases and public health problems; and in many other areas of biological research. Although the terms biometry and biostatistics are often used interchangeably, the former is now more frequently applied to agricultural and biological applications while the latter is more frequently applied to medical applications. Biometrics played a key role in the development of modern biology. The rediscovery of Gregor Mendel's work in the early 1900s led to conceptual gaps between the proponents of genetics and evolutionary Darwinism. By the 1930s, after vigorous debate, models built on statistical reasoning had resolved most of the differences to produce a coherent biology.

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biometry

biometry (biometrics) Quantitative biology, i.e. the application of mathematical and statistical concepts to the analysis of biological phenomena.

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biometry

biometry (biometrics) Quantitative biology, i.e. the application of mathematical and statistical concepts to the analysis of biological phenomena.

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biometry

biometry(biometrics) Quantitative biology, i.e. the application of mathematical and statistical concepts to the analysis of biological phenomena.

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biometry

biometry: see biometrics.

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biometrics

biometrics See biometry.

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biometrics

biometrics See BIOMETRY.

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biometrics

biometrics See BIOMETRY.

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Biometrics

Biometrics

Biometrics refers to the measurement of specific physical or behavioral characteristics and the use of that data in identifying subjects. With wide application, biometric-based identification techniques are increasingly an important part of forensic science investigations because biometric data is difficult, if not impossible, to duplicate or otherwise falsify. Examples of such data include retinal or iris scans, fingerprints, hand geometry and facial features. Accordingly, biometric systems offer highly accurate means of comparison of measured characteristics to those in a pre-assembled database.

Biometric identification points include gross morphological appearance that is most often subjectively interpreted upon superficial examination (e.g., gender, race or color of skin, hair and eye color). Other gross biometric data can include more quantifiableand therefore less subjectivedata (e.g., weight, height, location of scars or other visible physical markings). Some biometric data is easily changeable and therefore not reliable (e.g., presence of facial hair, wearing of glasses, etc.).

Because even objective features such as weight can change over time, systems of identification that rely on changeable or gross features are not as reliable as biometric systems that measure more stable anatomical and physiological characteristics such as fingerprints, retinal blood vessel patterns, specific skull dimensions, dental and skeletal x-rays, earlobe capillary patterns, and hand geometry.

The most specific and reliable of biometric data is obtained from DNA sequencing.

More controversial and, at present, less reliable biometric studies seek to enhance quantification of social behaviors, voice characteristicsincluding language use patterns and accentshandwriting, and even keystroke inputs patterns.

Biometric data can be encoded into magnetic stripes, bar codes, and integrated circuit smart cards.

On a global scale, biometric data interchange and interoperability standards are at present fragmented into different measurement and input format schemes. The Common Biometric Exchange File Format (CBEFF), in development by the International Biometric Industry Association (IBIA), seeks to integrate such measurement schemes to enhance reliability and use of biometric data. Other integration efforts include the Biometric Application Programming Interface (BioAPI) specification program used by the United States Department of Defense. The Depart of Defense has also established a Biometrics Management Office (BMO). BioAPI protocols are also being used by other governmental agencies and the financial service industry in the development of smart cards.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) also dedicates programs to bio-metric research and exchange. NIST developed the initial data protocols used in the Face Recognition Vendor Test (FRVT) and established the format for data collection used by most face recognition technologies.

Finally, reflecting the power of biometrics in forensic science, police forces are increasingly equipping themselves with the technical and personnel expertise to undertaken biometric examinations. These efforts are aided by the Internet, which allows police forces to access databases and share information on a global scale.

See also Computer modeling; Crime scene investigation; Forensic science; Skeletal analysis.

Lee Lerner

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Biometrics

BIOMETRICS

Biometrics is the use of a person's physical or behavioral characteristics for the purpose of identification and verification. Leading biometric technologies based on direct imaging, measurement, and analysis of physical patterns are fingerprint recognition, eye and retinal scans, face (facial) recognition, and hand geometry. Biometric technologies that identify a person based on behavioral characteristics are voice (speech) recognition and signature recognition. DNA, body odor, and stride are all considered biometrics; however they are not deployed due to technical challenges in quantitative measurement and analysis.




Development and Uses

The term biometrics or biometry actually has an older meaning from the early twentieth century referring to the development of statistical and mathematical methods for data analysis in the biological sciences. In this sense the term has been largely replaces by biostatistics.

The development of biometrics in the sense relevant here if not the precise term can be traced back to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when technologies of photographic portraiture, anthropometry, and dactyloscopy, as fingerprint reading and comparison was known, were used for purposes of bodily identification by law enforcement. In the 1930s, local laws required fingerprints and photo identification for birth certificates and driver's licenses. The next two decades witnessed widespread registration of personal identifiers through the expansion of passports and driver's licenses (Parenti 2003). Building on research conducted during the Cold War, the development and use of biometric technologies expanded significantly in the 1980s and 1990s.

Among biometric technologies, fingerprint recognition is the best known and most widely used. The development of fingerprinting goes back to the mid-nineteenth century when Sir William Herschel, a British colonial administrator in India, used inked handprints on contracts he made with the locals. In the 1870s, Henry Faulds, a British physician working in Japan, introduced a preliminary system of classification of human prints and proposed the use of fingerprinting for identification. In 1892 Francis Galton, father of eugenics, refined Faulds' system of classification and identified certain characteristics (minutia) for fingerprints.

Fingerprinting for law enforcement purposes was used for the first time in 1891 by an Argentine police officer, Juan Vucetich, who was able to arrest an offender based on a positive identification of the latter's fingerprints. Fingerprinting for criminal identification was introduced in the United States in 1903, and in a few years most major police departments started using the technique. In 1924 the fingerprint sections of the penitentiary at Leavenworth and the National Identification Bureau were consolidated to form the basis of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Bureau of Identification (Parenti 2003). With the introduction of the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) in the early 1970s, criminal fingerprint records were computerized, enabling law enforcement to create and use searchable databases of prints.

Fingerprint recognition remains the most reliable biometric technology, but this has been challenged by some courts and researchers in recent years. For example, in 2002, a U.S. district court ruled that fingerprinting was not admissible as scientific evidence. Although the U.S. Court of Appeals modified this judgment, and researchers at the National Biometric Test Center (San Jose State University) did computer comparisons with exceedingly few errors attesting to the scientific validity of fingerprinting, there are still concerns. Security experts warn that wet, dirty, scarred, creased, or worn fingerprints might interfere with the scanning and recognition process. For example, in 2002 a Japanese researcher demonstrated that gelatin-based fake fingers could fool optical scanners.

Since the 1990s federal agencies, the intelligence community, and law enforcement have used hand geometry and fingerprint recognition to control access to facilities, identify criminals, check for false driver's license registrations, and maintain border security. Healthcare, financial, and transportation sectors use fingerprint and hand scans to eliminate badges, keys, and passwords and provide more secure and controlled access to facilities, computers, and databases.

In the early-twenty-first century lower costs and wider availability of biometric technologies together with a growing interest in convenience and security benefits have led to multiplication of biometric applications in varied contexts. For example, in the early twenty-first century schools increasingly use digitized fingerprints and/or hand scanners to enable students to pay for cafeteria meals, check out library books, and gain access to dormitories. The gaming industry deploys face recognition systems in casinos to identify card counters. In New York City low-risk probationers can report their whereabouts by scanning their hands at a kiosk instead of meeting with their probation officers. Plans to identify Medicaid patients at doctors' offices by fingerprint scans in order to eliminate healthcare fraud are underway in some states. Customers at some supermarkets and amusement parks will soon be able to make their payments with the touch of a fingerprint.


Spotlight Events

Although it is not entirely new, biometrics was thrust into the spotlight as a result of two early-twenty-first-century events: Super Bowl XXXV in January 2001, and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. At the Super Bowl in Tampa, Florida, the police used video surveillance cameras equipped with face recognition technology to scan the faces of some 100,000 spectators in search of wanted criminals. Although it did not produce any significant results (only nineteen petty criminals were recognized), the surreptitious use of biometrics caused quite an outrage. The media dubbed Super Bowl XXXV the Snooper Bowl, a privacy rights group gave the City of Tampa the 2001 Big Brother Award for Worst Public Official, and civil liberties advocates argued that the digital police lineup was a violation of the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Months after the Super Bowl, the events of September 11 again focused attention on biometric technologies. In the face of growing security concerns, both governmental and nongovernmental entities (such as airports) turned to biometric technologies as part of their antiterrorism and homeland security efforts. For example, the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (U.S. VISIT) program and major airports, such as Logan International Airport in Massachusetts, Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport in Texas, and Palm Beach International Airport in Florida, use retina scan and/or fingerprint recognition systems to compare travelers against profiles of known or suspected terrorists in searchable databases.


Criticisms

Despite its touted benefits (security, convenience, protection of assets, and others), biometrics has been the subject of substantial criticism, which can be grouped into two categories. First, the use of biometric technologies presents certain technical challenges and limitations. Security experts note that fingerprint aging and changes in physical appearance such as hairstyle may undermine the reliability of fingerprint and face recognition systems, respectively. In terms of voice and signature recognition, experts warn that the discrepancies between the original identifier presented during enrollment may not correspond exactly to the one presented during verification and thus create difficulties in matching.

Second, biometric technologies present certain legal, ethical, and social implications as expressed by privacy and civil liberties advocates. Lawmakers and privacy experts direct attention to the inadequacy of legal protections regarding the collection, storage, and sharing of biometric data; and it is worth noting that the use of biometrics is not fully addressed in privacy legislation, and that there remain broad exemptions for law enforcement and national security purposes. In terms of ethical and social implications, some argue that biometric technologies turn the human body into nothing more than sets of data. Biometric systems, they contend, are dehumanizing because they are bureaucratic systems of identification and verification whereby people are subject to the control of others (Brey 2004). Biometric technologies can also limit freedom of movement and lead to social discrimination because they enable authorities to privilege or reject individuals based on biometric data (Lyon 2003). The most fundamental argument against biometrics relates to privacy invasion; this argument specifically targets face recognition technology.

Face recognition is the most contentious among biometric technologies because it is generally performed without one's knowledge. For fingerprinting or hand geometry to work, one must put the finger or hand under a scanner and thus is aware of being the subject of a biometric system of identification. However face recognition applications allow facial imagery to be captured without the consent or even the knowledge of the subject, and such technologies can be used for surveillance purposes. In this sense, one can argue that face recognition systems pose a plausible threat to privacy—the reasonable control an individual has over what information is made public, and what is not (Agre 2001).

Prior to implementing biometric technologies, policymakers, public authorities, and nongovernmental entities must consider the scientific basis, technical limitations, and possible negative consequences in order to analyze benefits and costs of biometric applications. If not, these implications might easily outweigh any security and convenience benefit, and challenge the free society in serious ways.


BILGE YESIL

SEE ALSO Forensic Science; Police; Security; Terrorism.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Agre, Philip E. (2001). "Your Face Is Not a Barcode: Arguments against Automatic Face Recognition in Public Places." Whole Earth Winter: 74–77.

Brey, Philip. (2004). "Ethical Aspects of Facial Recognition Systems in Public Places." In Readings in Cyberethics, 2nd edition, ed. Richard A. Spinello and Herman L. Tavani. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Lyon, David. (2003). Surveillance after September 11. Malden, MA: Polity.

Parenti, Christian. (2003). The Soft Cage: Surveillance in America: From Slavery to the War on Terror. New York: Basic Books.

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