The History Of Biometrics

Submitted By coffeymw
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Pages: 6

Welcome to the fascinating world of biometrics. With the ever-changing advancements of technology, biometrics is currently at the forefront. A biometric system is essentially a pattern recognition system which recognizes a user by confirming the authenticity of a specific anatomical or behavior attribute of the user. The biometric system has the potential of being a far more secure method of authentication in comparison to traditional methods such as keycards and passwords. With computers now integrated into nearly every aspect of our lives, it is imperative that we protect data that is personal and sensitive.
In a biometric system, the basic process includes four steps. The user must be enrolled in the system in order. The system will capture a physical or behavioral characteristic. The feature extraction process creates a template of this captured data and stored in a database. When a system requires verification or authentication, the user submits a new scan and this new template is compared with the stored template to produce a matching score. When comparing templates, the confidence level is never greater than 99% thus a score system is used.
The selection of a particular biometric for use in a specific application involves weighing of several factors:
• “Universality” Every person using a system should possess the trait.
• “Uniqueness” The trait should be sufficiently different for individuals in order that they are distinguishable from one another.
• “Permanence” The manner in which a trait varies over times.
• “Measurability” The easiness of the trait being measured.
• “Performance” The accuracy, speed, and robustness of technology used.
• “Acceptability” How well individuals in the relevant population accept the technology.
• “Circumvention” The ease with which a trait might be imitated using an artifact or substitute.
No individual biometric will meet all the requirements of every possible application and therefore it, like other currently used authentication methods, is not a perfect form of user identification.
Biometrics use is peppered throughout history. Those in ancient Babylon actually used fingerprinting on clay tablets for business transactions. Archeologists have found thumbprints on ancient clay tablets in China, as well…although many theorists believe this was used more for spiritual purposes. From fourteenth-century Persia, there are surviving government papers that have fingerprints on them. Centuries ago China was using inked fingerprints on official documents for identification. In 1892 biometrics became a distinct field of study when a man name, Alphonse Bertillon developed a method that used eleven (11) body measurements to identifying a person. Alphonse Bertillon was a police clerk in Paris and saw the need to develop a way of identifying a person other than using photographic memory. His method, called the Beritillonage method, was accepted and used worldwide. This method, however, had its issues as many people possessed the same eleven body measurements. Because of this fingerprinting (which was the method of identification in China), became the acceptable method.
Fingerprinting continued to be the only biometric method used in first half of the twentieth century. With the advent of computers and the drastic advancements of technology thereafter, multiple methods of biometrics have become feasible. In the 1960’s, the first facial recognition system was developed. Signature recognition was introduced in the 1960’s as well. The first hand geometry and voice recognition systems were introduced commercially in the 1970’s. When the 1980’s came along, eye analysis technology was the latest trend of study. In the 1990’s, DNA indexing system was released by the FBI. After the millennium, Biometrics study has accelerated greatly.
There are more physiological biometrics systems than behavioral systems in use today. Physiological Biometrics includes