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With Material From - The Biometrics Consortium (

The Biometric Consortium's charter was formally approved on December 7, 1995, by the Facilities Protection Committee, a committee that reports to the Security Policy Board through the Security Policy Forum. The Security Policy Board was established by Presidential Decision Directive/NSC-29 on September 16, 1994, for the coordination, formulation, evaluation, and oversight of US national security policy. The Security Policy Board reports to the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.

"Biometrics are automated methods of recognizing a person based on a physiological or behavioral characteristic."

Examples of human traits used for biometric recognition include fingerprints, speech, face, retina, iris, handwritten signature, hand geometry, and wrist veins.

Biometric recognition can be used in identification mode, where the biometric system identifies a person from the entire enrolled population by searching a database for a match.

A system also can be used in verification mode, where the biometric system authenticates a person's claimed identity from his/her previously enrolled pattern.

Using biometrics for identifying and authenticating human beings offers some unique advantages. Only biometric authentication bases an identification on an intrinsic part of a human being. Tokens, such as smart cards, magnetic stripe cards, physical keys, and so forth, can be lost, stolen, duplicated, or left at home. Passwords can be forgotten, shared, or observed.

While all biometric systems have their own advantages and disadvantages, there are some common characteristics needed to make a biometric system usable.

First, the biometric must be based upon a distinguishable trait. For example, for nearly a century, law enforcement has used fingerprints to identify people. There is a great deal of scientific data supporting the idea that "no two fingerprints are alike."

Newer methods, even those with a great deal of scientific support, such as DNA-based genetic matching, sometimes do not hold up in court.

Another key aspect is how user-friendly is the system?  Most people find it acceptable to have their pictures taken by video cameras or to speak into a microphone. In the United States, using a fingerprint sensor does not seem to be much of a problem. In some other countries, however, there is strong cultural opposition to touching something that has been touched by many other people.

While cost is always a concern, most implementers today are sophisticated enough to understand that it is not only the initial cost of the sensor or the matching software that is involved. Often, the life-cycle support cost of providing system administration support and an enrollment operator can overtake the initial cost of the hardware. Also of key importance is accuracy. Some terms that are used to describe the accuracy of biometric systems include false-acceptance rate (percentage of impostors accepted), false-rejection rate (percentage of authorized users rejected), and equal-error rate (when the decision threshold is adjusted so that the false- acceptance rate equals the false-rejection rate).

When discussing the accuracy of a biometric system, it is often beneficial to talk about the equal-error rate or at least to consider the false-acceptance rate and false-rejection rate together. For many systems, the threshold can be adjusted to ensure that virtually no impostors will be accepted. Unfortunately, this often means an unreasonably high number of authorized users will be rejected.

To summarize, a good biometric system is one that is low cost, fast, accurate, and easy to use."

We at Biometrics Direct believe our solutions are among the best in the industry.  A special emphasis of our company’s vision is the utilization of advanced biometric technology to increase the security of our clients’ homes, workplaces, networks and data.  The small and medium business environments make up the bulk of the US economy and their security is fundamental to the defense of our national financial system.  Effective solutions must offer increased security of data, networks and access to facilities while maintaining personal privacy.


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