BIOMETRICS The Issue of Privacy in an Increasingly Secure World By: Joanna Moser
6 Types of Biometric Technology: Face Recognition Fingerprint Recognition Hand Geometry Iris/Retina Scan Voice Recognition Keystroke Dynamics
Face Recognition Technology Proven to be remarkably ineffective. To give accurate identifications, the camera requires the suspect to stare directly and frontally into the lens. To verify a match, a video database is also required and this database must be updated frequently to account for changes due to aging and other cosmetic changes. A computerized photo match that emphasizes parts of the face that are less susceptible to alteration such as the upper outlines of the eye sockets, areas around the cheekbones, and side of the mouth (Kroeker, 2002).
Fingerprint Recognition Technology An individual puts his or her hand on a scanning pad called a platen and the fingers minutiae, the ridges, valleys and bifurcations that are unique to an individual, are recorded. The methodology utilized to capture finger scans comes from three sources: 1. capacitance, which uses electrical charges between the fingers ridges, 2. optical, which uses light, and 3. thermal, which uses heat (Finger Image, 2003). A single fingerprint is matched against a central database. Is the least accurate biometric reading (only has 40 characteristics to measure) (Ackerman, 2003). This is the preferred biometric tool because the general population has become accustomed to it and has accepted the practice as a legitimate invasion of privacy.
Hand Geometry The user enters a PIN number on a keypad and then positions their hand on a plate (Spence, 2003). This plate has a set of guidance pins, which ensure that the hand will be in generally the same position for every measurement. A digital camera mounted above the plate, with the aid of a mirror, takes a picture of the top and side views of the hand. The dimensions of the hand, such as finger length, width and area, are extrapolated from the image and the magnification of the camera (Spence, 2003).
Iris/Retina Scan Focuses on identifying unique patterns of blood vessels on the back wall of the retina. The head is positioned against a support, and a low power infrared light is directed against the back of the retina. The vein pattern image is reflected back to the camera. Extremely accurate because it has to verify 266 characteristics: more than any other biometric reading (IBG, 2003). Very expensive.
Voice Recognition The user speaks into a microphone and gives his password or access phrase. Utilizes digital technology to produce a voiceprint that is stored and then referred to each time the owner of the voiceprint attempts to access a system. For a voice print to be verified, the pass phrase must be identical to the one initially recorded. Verification time is about five seconds (Collin, 2003). To prevent someone from using a recording of another persons voice, the voice recognition system requires that high and low frequencies of the sound match.
Keystroke Dynamics Evaluates the manner by which an individual types at a computer terminal by monitoring the keyboard inputs thousands of times per second in an effort to identify users based on habitual typing rhythm patterns. The durations of keystrokes and the latencies between them are recorded. The sample is compared with the template through statistical means, where the computed distance must be within an accepted range. Recognition based on typing rhythm is not intrusive, so users would not see this as an extensive invasion of privacy (Monrose and Rubin, 1999).
The U.S. National Institute for Technology & Standards has found that facial-recognition systems perform well in controlled situations but that in uncontrolled settings, facial appearances can vary significantly depending on lighting, camera angle, and a number of intangibles. The IBG also criticized the accuracy of face-scanning systems: in one case study (under controlled circumstances), six weeks after users had been scanned into the system, the device failed to recognize them almost one-third of the time (Hawkins, 2002). How Effective Is Biometrics?
How Effective Is Biometrics? (cont) The IBG says the failure rate of fingerprint scanners is as high as 12%. Digital fingerprint readers can fail to identify people whose professions entail working with harsh chemicals, such as hairdressers. The prints of the aged may also be too worn to register. About 4% of the population cannot be tracked by fingerprint biometrics because their prints are too blurry to discern (Salkever, 2003).
The ultimate biometric technology is the computer chip implant. Now being marketed by the VeriChip Corporation, the product is awaiting consumer acceptance. The computer chip will stay with you for life and will act like a personal emergency transmission alert. Possibilities
Do you want a computer chip implanted into your body? Do we want to be watched all the time? The likely answer is NO! (Source: Greater Things Website - http://www.greaterthings.com/News/Chip_Implants/) However, unless the technology exists to simultaneously track the activities of millions, perhaps billions of computer chip recipients, surveillance will continue to be the result of a subjective decision to have somebody watched.
What is Privacy? the right to be left alone the right to exercise control over information about oneself the ability to control the use and disclosure of ones personal information The concept of privacy remains difficult to define.