Biometrics allow people to be identified based on unique characteristics. Examples include fingerprint scans, iris scans, and voice recognition. Biometric devices utilize technology to capture and process this type of information. Such devices may be found at airports, government buildings, and law enforcement agencies.
Biometric devices normally capture information about a person the first time she uses it. That information is linked to her and other information may be linked it, creating a file. For example, a person may need to enter a premises that grants access upon fingerprint verification. The first time, the person’s fingerprint will be recorded and attached to her name and photo. It is also possible that other information, such as the make, model, and registration number of her vehicle, can be linked to that fingerprint.
The two primary uses for biometric devices are identification and verification. These may sound as if they are the same but they can actually be very different. A facial recognition device may be used to identify a person who enters a building and is granted an access pass. The captured information may only be useful thereafter if it is necessary to identify who the access pass was given to. If that person ever returns, he may be subjected to the same process again.
Verification generally involves reidentifying someone using a biometric device. An example of such a case would be an iris scan that grants access to classified areas in a building. In this case, a person will use the device numerous times to confirm her identity and deem her qualified for entry.
There are many important factors to be considered with biometric devices. One, which leads to the use of these devices being controversial, is security. Many people have argued against using biometric devices because the information captured is so sensitive. If it is not properly protected and is accessed by people with bad intentions, a great deal of harm can be done.
Accuracy is also important. This is one area, however, that can present challenges to the use of biometric devices. Many are designed to capture a person’s characteristics exactly as they are without the ability to allow for potential changes. If, for example, a facial recognition system is used and a person is in an accident that damages his face, serious problems can arise. It may be difficult or impossible to get the system to accept the change.
Capacity is another issue. Biometric devices are generally linked to some type of storage mechanism that stores the captured data. These usually have limits. It is important for sufficient storage space to be considered when plans are made to utilize biometric devices. How long a person’s information is stored generally depends on the design of the system.