Technology is changing the way we look at personal identification and identity protection. For a long time, identification documents such as driver’s licenses, passports, and identification cards have been the primary method of identifying someone. Biometrics technology is changing that up and bringing convenience and a number of other benefits to the table. It is going to be interesting to watch all the different uses and applications of this technology as they unfold.
What Is Biometrics Technology?
Biometrics involves measuring the physical characteristics of someone for the purpose of identification. Once these traits are measured, they can be analyzed and processed in the accompanying computer systems. Human beings have unique features that are different for each person. These include fingerprints and irises.
Biometric measurement often involves fingerprints. This is not a new concept because fingerprints have been taken for many years for personal identification, to investigate crime scenes, and for other important documents. Most of the time, ink and paper were used to take and store these fingerprints. Although this method proved very effective, there were a few drawbacks, including the quality of the prints taken and the security of the paper records. Taking fingerprints electronically solves both of these issues. Using biometrics technology uses standardized technology devices to take the fingerprints. These are automatically captured and stored electronically, which makes storage, searching, and processing much easier.
Biometric devices have a few components to them, which allow them to perform their important and sensitive function. There is the reader or scanner that measures and records the biometric feature that needs to be authenticated. The data recorded is converted to a standard digital format using specific software. This helps the data to be compared with the records on file. There is also a database storing the data records either locally or at a centralized location.
There are many different features that can be used in biometric verification. The most common are the physiological traits of the person being authenticated. Examples of these measures include fingerprints, facial recognition, iris recognition, voice recognition, and DNA matching. Behavioral characteristics can also be measured for biometric verification purposes. These measure the unique way that someone acts. Examples of these include walking gait, typing patterns, and other particular gestures.
Applications of the Technology
The use of biometrics is increasing in different settings such as airports, workplaces, residential buildings, retail outlets, and many more. Biometric systems have a natural home in law enforcement where identifying people is part and parcel of everyday work. Border control and the healthcare system also rely on personal authentication for the services they provide.
The two main driving forces behind the use of biometric verification are therefore convenient and security. There are definite advantages to this technology. People don’t have to remember as many passwords or carry many identification documents or keys. Biometric measurements also boost security because they are hard to fake or steal, unlike documents and passwords. This means fewer cases of identity theft. These measures are also easy to use and can save a lot of verification time. Other benefits include less storage space required and little change of the data over time.
There are also a few disadvantages of using biometric verification as well. Implementing the complete system can be an expensive exercise. The security of the databases storing the biometric records is a primary concern. Cybersecurity threats such as hacking need to be guarded against. The system is not always faultless, and when it does not measure all the data required, this prevents proper identification of the individual. False rejects or accepts can also occur. Personal injuries can also affect where a person’s features can be accurately measured or not.