Archive for the ‘Biometrics’ Category

How do biometric systems work?

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Biometrics systems work by recording and comparing biometric characteristics. In many cases, characteristics are recorded as images, but for speaker recognition a waveform is recorded, and for signature recognition, time series data. For efficiency reasons, rather than using recorded characteristics directly, it is usual to extract identifying features from the samples and encode these features in a form that facilitates storage and comparison.When an individual first uses a biometric system, their identifying features are enrolled as a reference for future comparison. This reference may be stored in a central database or on a card (or both) depending on the needs of the application.

When biometric recognition is required, the individual ‘s biometric characteristics are recorded again. This time however, the identifying features are compared by the system with the stored reference to determine if there is a close match.

There are two modes for biometric recognition: verification and identification. In verification, an identity is claimed and the comparison process is limited to checking the reference corresponding to this identity. In identification, no claim of identity is necessary and the system searches its reference database to find if a stored reference matches the biometric characteristics recorded.

Gatwick electronic border security ‘catches criminal’

Monday, April 5th, 2010

15 March 2010


A criminal has been stopped from entering the UK at Gatwick by an electronic system designed to enhance border security at the airport.

The UK Border Agency reports the convicted foreign drug smuggler was halted because of the hi-tech monitoring system, which checks passenger data against watchlists.

He was intercepted by officials at the facility’s south terminal after boarding a flight to Britain as the National Border Targeting Centre monitors passengers and crew members entering the country.

The e-Borders system flagged the arrival of the 40-year-old Lithuanian national, who had been deported in 2002 after a conviction for attempted cocaine smuggling.

Gatwick Airport UK Border Agency assistant director Nick Crouch said: “e-Borders has already had a huge impact, helping us catch more than 5,400 criminals including rapists and murderers.”

Borders are increasingly being secured by a range of measures, including the installation of biometric technology such as eye, facial or fingerprint scans.

What is Biometrics?

Monday, April 5th, 2010

A Biometric System is a system for the automated recognition of individuals based on their behavioural and biological characteristics.

Fingerprints, face geometry, iris patterns and hand geometry are examples of biological characteristics, while dynamic signature recognition (the way in which a signature is written rather than the resulting graphic) is an example of a behavioural characteristic. In reality, most biometric characteristics comprise elements of both biology and behaviour.

Speaker recognition for example, depends on biological factors such as the shape of the vocal tract as well as behavioural influences such as the region of upbringing. Conversely, biological characteristics such as fingerprints are affected by behaviour when placing a finger onto a sensor.

Biological and behavioural characteristics of an individual are those that can be detected and from which distinguishing repeatable biometric features can be extracted for the purpose of automated recognition of individuals.

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Biological and behavioural characteristics are physical properties of body parts, physiological and behavioural processes created by the body and combinations of any of these. Distinguishing does not necessarily imply individualization.

Wherever there is a need to identify or verify a human being there is a potential application for biometrics. This includes entry control to buildings and secure areas including countries, as well as logical access control to resources such as bank accounts and entitlement services.

Traditional methods to secure such applications include magnetic and smart cards, tokens as well as passwords and PINs. However, when it comes to identity assurance, biometric technologies have an unsurpassed advantage: they are intrinsically linked to the person.

As the number and scale of deployments of biometric recognition systems increase, biometrics is moving from an era where vendor-specific products, techniques and solutions were acceptable, into an era where interoperability is important and conformance to standards is required by most procurers of biometric products.