Biometric recognition offers a reliable solution to the problem of user authentication in identity management systems. It is a general term used alternatively to describe a characteristic or process: as a characteristic, a biometric is a measurable biological (anatomical or physiological) and behavioral characteristic that can be used for automated recognition. As a process, a biometric is an automated method of recognizing an individual based on measurable biological (anatomical or physiological) and behavioral characteristics. Biometric commonly implemented or studied include fingerprint, face, iris, voice, signature, and hand geometry. Many other modalities are in various stages of development and assessment. There is not one biometric modality that is best for all implementations. Many factors must be taken into account when implementing a biometric device including location, security risk, task (identification or verification), expected number of users, user circumstances, existing data, etc. it is also important to note that biometric modalities are in varying stage of maturity. For example, fingerprint recognition has been used for over a century while iris recognition is a little more than a decade old. It should be noted that maturity is not related to which technology is the best, but can an indicator of which technologies have more implementation experience. Biometrics are typically collected using a device called a sensor. These sensors are used to acquire the data needed for recognition and to convert the data to digital form. The quality of the sensor has a significant impact on the recognition results. Example “sensors” could be digital cameras (for face recognition) or a telephone (for voice recognition). Let us also discuss what biometric templates are: a biometric template is a digital representation of an individual’s distinct characteristics, representing information extracted from a biometric sample. Biometric templates are what are actually compared in a biometric recognition system. Templates can vary between biometric modalities as well as vendors. Not all biometric devices are template based. For example, voice recognition is based on “models.” The difference between templates and models is beyond the scope of this paper. Difference between recognition, verification and identification. Recognition is a generic term, and does not necessarily imply either verification or identification; all biometric systems perform “recognition” to “again know” a person who has been previously enrolled. Verification is a task where the biometric system attempts to confirm an individual’s claimed identity by comparing a submitted sample to one or more previously enrolled templates. Identification is a task where the biometric system attempts to determine the identity of an individual; a biometric is collected and compared to all the templates in a database. Identification is “closed-set” if the person is known to exist in the database. In the “open-set” identification, sometimes referred to as a “watch list,” the person is not guaranteed to exist in the database. The system must determine whether the person is in the database. Biometrics are being used in many locations to enhance the security and convenience of the society. Example deployments within the United States Government include the FBI’s IFIS, the US-VISIT program, the Transportation Workers Identification Credentials (TWIC) program and Registered Traveler program. These deployments are intended to strengthen the security and convenience in their respective environments. Many companies are also implementing biometric technologies to secure areas, maintain time records, and enhance user convenience. For example, for many years Disney World has employed biometric devices for season ticket holders to expedite and simplify the process of entering its parks. A reliable identity management system is urgently needed in order to combat...
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