Biometric Methods to be used for the National Identity Cards
Over the years, there have been numerous concerns about the issue of identification. At first, authentication was simple and was guided by two key factors. One of these factors was what a user needed to have, such as a badge.
The badge was a vital identification tool that would allow the one in possession to enter a restricted facility. The other factor is something that one knows about such as a personal identification number for use with an ATM or an appropriate password assigned to a user to guarantee him or her access to confidential or restricted information.
However, with a continuous change in technology being experienced all over the world, a third factor has become a necessity. This third factor is something that someone really is and is represented by biometrics (Janker 2002).
The use of a biometric security system provides an effective means for ensuring that the privacy rights of any citizen can be secured by accurately and timely identifying individuals without the need to rely on the use of identification papers or information that an individual must provide such as his or her social security number (Zhang 2002).
The technology helps in empowering users with the ability to securely prove who they are to anyone, for any purpose, using their biometrics. Of great benefit is the fact that users are able to prove their identities without having to disclose the biometric data itself. The only time that a user’s record will be decrypted and displayed is when there is a positive match.
Without a positive match being realized, all the information about the user is made completely inaccessible even to the system administrator (Li & Jain 2009). This strengthens the entire identification process.
Biometrics refers to the use of unique individual characteristics for identifying or validating individuals. A biometric system may also be regarded as an automatic means by which one can detect a person using his or her behavioral characteristics (Biometrics: Authentication Technologies 2007).
According to Woodward (2004), biometric security systems have the unique ability to identify who a person really is, as opposed to who he or she claims to be. Characteristics that are commonly used by the biometric system for purposes of identification or validation include fingerprints, the iris of the eye, voice and the face.
There are a number of biometric security methods that have been set up or tried both in public and in the private sectors. Among these are fingerprints and face recognition technologies (Biometrics: Authentication Technologies 2007).
This paper provides a critical evaluation of two biometric methods that can be used for the National Identity Cards in terms of their usability, reliability and scalability. The evaluation will also cover known security vulnerabilities associated with the two methods. The two methods described here are fingerprint and facial recognition biometric techniques (Zhang 2002).
The fingerprint biometric security system is very similar to the ink and paper approach used in the past for identification purposes by law enforcement authorities. It is, however, different in the sense that it is an automated system. According to Janker (2002), fingerprints were first used on clay for executing business transactions in the ancient days.
Observations regarding the use of fingerprints for identification were first published in the year 1892 by Sir Francis Galton, a British anthropologist. This then set the pace for using the technology and for many years, it has proved to be a helpful method of identifying individuals (Li & Jain 2009).
Of all the biometric security systems that have ever been used, the fingerprint biometric security system is the oldest and has been used quite successfully for various purposes. The operation of the fingerprint technique is based on the fact that every person has unique fingerprints (Biometrics: Authentication Technologies 2007).
Every fingerprint is made up of folds and troughs and these are what are used to be able to determine the uniqueness of an individual. For one to make use of the fingerprint biometric system, he or she is required to put his or her finger on a flat surface to be read. Generally, the biometric fingerprint systems can be applied in three major areas (Zhang 2002). These include law enforcement, fraud prevention, and access control for designated facilities or equipment such as computers.
Biometric security systems have several advantages that make them suitable to be used for the national identity cards. First of all, they are quite easy to use and may only require a little training for one to get proficient enough to use them. There is also the advantage that people have several fingers that can be used with the biometric system and as such, operators are not in any way limited as far as the use of fingers is concerned (Biometrics: Authentication Technologies 2007).
When it comes to space requirement, the biometric fingerprint systems are less cumbersome and often can do with very little space. Considering that the fingerprint biometric security system has proved to be an effective tool in several large scale environments, it is seen to be both scalable and reliable. From a system supporting only a small number of individuals, the system can be upgraded to support a much more significant number of people.
The use of the system is further strengthened by the fact that large amounts of data are readily available to perform any required background checks. Besides just being unique from one person to another, fingerprints are also unique from each other on any individual and the folds and troughs are a permanent feature throughout a person lifetime. This characteristic of fingerprints further amplifies its level of reliability.
There are, however, some drawbacks that are associated with the use of fingerprints. Some people tend to harbor a negative perception regarding the use of fingerprints systems and as such, a paradigm shift is necessary to get users to embrace the use of fingerprint biometric security systems.
Significant concerns have also been raised regarding the idea of an individual being expected to lay a finger on a biometric security system that is used by a huge number of individuals. Some of these concerns may be health-related while others could be linked to what the society in general believes about such practices.
Another challenge of using biometric security systems is associated with the level of training as well as skill that is needed for one to capture high-quality images as the required by the system efficiently. Over the years, however, this concern has been addressed with better robust technology being made available.
As a person advances in age, this may pose a challenge to sensors as far image capturing is concerned. Getting an accurate and complete fingerprint image may become such a big problem (Biometrics: Authentication Technologies 2007).
One key feature of the face recognition biometric security system is that it can be used from a distance without the knowledge of the person on whom it is used. According to Janker (2002), the face recognition biometric technology is a less established form of technology than fingerprint-based biometric technologies. Generally, the system makes use of key features that are found on an individual’s face, including the nose and ears.
Typically, the facial recognition technologies are based on a two-step approach (Kumar & Zhang 2010). First, an off-line enrollment procedure is established to build a unique template for each registered user. This procedure is based on the acquisition of a pre-defined set of face images, selected from the input image stream or a complete video and the template is built upon a set of features extracted from the image assembly.
The next step is an online identification or verification procedure where a set of images are acquired and processed to extract a given set of features.
From these features, a face description is built to be matched against the user’s template. Regardless of the acquisition devices exploited to grab the image streams, a simple classification can be generated based on the computational architecture applied to extract distinctive and possibly unique features for identification and to derive a template description for any subsequent matching (Kumar & Zhang 2010)
The performance of facial recognition technologies can easily be compromised by improper user behavior as well as by environmental factors such as the available amount of lighting (Biometrics: Authentication Technologies 2007). The system is mostly favored because it does not depend on skin color.
The system does not also require profiling, which is opposed by many people. The system has been used in many ways to track down criminals who try to escape authorities. Using the technology, it became possible to detect cases of misconduct by drivers who possessed more than one driving licenses and used them to avoid arrest whenever a crime was committed. A severe crackdown on these unfaithful drivers made it possible to get rid of dangerous drivers off the highways (Janker 2002).
In England, face recognition systems have been used together with street cameras to bring an end to criminal offences along the streets. The Israelites have also used the system extensively to control crime along its borders. Other countries are already working on modalities of customizing the system to be used in the identification of passports held by aircrew (Janker 2002).
Like any other technology, however, the facial recognition technology is not without imperfections. According to a research by the United States National Security Agency (NSA), one can easily create a mask that can make the system fail to work as expected, leading to wrong results. Luckily, different approaches have been identified to help deal with this challenge. One such technology uses infrared technology to create a more rigorous identification process.
The use of facial recognition has been witnessed in various areas which include identification of criminals in urban areas and overseas and identification of counterfeit cards in different public forums (Biometrics: Authentication Technologies 2007). Many U.S. Department of Defense identity cardholders has no idea that facial biometrics are part of their identification cards. Usually, a photograph will be integrated within a user’s card to give the system the capability of checking for personal identification.
The barcode integrated with the system is a critical component that is used to ensure that the biometric system card is properly read. Another drawback of the face based biometric system is the relatively small size of the encryption key that may be securely bound to the biometric security system. This can, however, be made better by using very high resolution or 3D face recognition systems (Leeuw 2008).
One of the advantages of the facial biometric system is that it requires no contact and this addresses the worry of numerous people touching the same system as in the case of a fingerprint system. Sensors or cameras used with the facial biometric system are also easily available and it is also possible to access huge amounts of information that can be used for background checks.
The technology is also easy to use and verification of results by human beings is not so complicated. Reliability of the facial technology is, however, questionable considering that the face can be obstructed by hair or other things that may be worn such as glasses, hats, or scarves. The system is also susceptible to changes in either lighting or expression. Changes on an individual’s face are also likely to interfere with the operation of the facial biometric system.
Beyond doubt, there are huge benefits of using the biometric security systems for both identification and validation. According to Janker (2002), biometric security systems are critical tool in linking a person to past terrorists or criminal actions, as well as determining or validating a person identity. When engaging in global war on terrorism, standardization and interoperability are key tenets of success that must be given serious consideration.
The Role and the Development of International Biometric Standards
According to Woodward (2004), biometric technology is an important component of the identity protection and management for the United States Department of Defense (DOD).
This being the case; therefore, the development of biometric standards is critical to the department’s successful use of biometric security systems. Generally, biometric standards are an essential component for enabling information sharing and technology interoperability. Without standards, interoperability is hindered and may affect universal use of biometric security systems.
This paper provides a detailed discussion of standards used with biometric security systems and goes on to explain the relevance as well as applicability of these standards to control how biometric security systems are used.
The paper also gives a highlight of the major interoperability benefits of having strong standards to control the way biometric security systems are designed and implemented. Standard deficiencies in commercial biometrics marketplace are also explored. To start with, various concerns linked to the use of biometric security systems are discussed.
Concerns Associated With Biometrics
Just as it is with any new technology that is meant to identify human individuality, critics are concerned with a number of issues regarding the use of biometric security systems (Li & Jain, 2009). First and foremost, there is a concern about accuracy. In general, applications that are meant to prove that one is who he or she claims to be must be completely accurate and reliable.
While some biometric security systems have been able to achieve a considerably high level of accuracy, it is quite rare to come by vendors who are ready to commit to offering total accuracy as far as the use of biometric security systems is concerned. Other players in the field are worried about criminals fooling the biometric system and getting their way.
There are also fears among others that it may be possible for unauthorized persons to bypass the biometric security system and do all they wish to do with the information available through the biometric system. According to Woodward (2004), studies have revealed that no single authentication system is entirely secure. Almost any authentication technique, at least by itself, can be compromised by any determined individual.
The biometric security system is, therefore, not likely to be as foolproof as people may want it to be. Some people are also afraid of the fact that biometric information can be manipulated or misused by anyone with malicious intentions. This being the case, it is imperative that all the information gathered about individuals for use with biometric security systems must be kept under very tight security.
The goal is to ensure that no private information falls in the wrong hands. Under no circumstances should anyone be allowed to access information that belongs to other people. Other concerns have also been raised regarding those with disabilities.
Because of the disability, these people are unable to make use of the biometric security systems as expected for different reasons. Sometimes, their use of the biometric systems may be hindered by the fact that the design of the system is too complicated for them to use. The most important thing here is to ensure that all biometric security systems are designed to cater for everyone’s need.
There are three major categories of concerns that have been raised concerning the use of biometric security systems. The classes include privacy of information, physical privacy, and religious objections. They are briefly discussed in the following subsections.
Privacy of Information
Woodward (2004), while surveying privacy-enhancing and threatening privacy aspects of biometric security systems, observed that the privacy of information or simply, the ability of an individual to control information about him or herself, was a major worry for most experts in the biometrics sector.
Concerns about the privacy of information range from using the biometric information for a purpose other than the one for which the data was originally collected (Biometrics: Authentication Technologies 2007).
Experts commonly refer to this as function creep. Even though there are times when it would make sense to use private biometric information, this could create serious problems socially. Generally, when data is used without the express authority of the person to whom it belongs, it may be against the norms of the society and consequently, the use of biometric security systems will be perceived negatively.
Another major concern regarding the use of biometric technology is the fear of being monitored. Many times, people do not like to be followed around and especially if this has to be done behind their backs. The moment people discover that they are being tracked, they may develop a negative attitude as far as using the biometric system is concerned.
The possibility of using private data without the consent of the owners is further worsened by the fact that the information gathered for use with biometric systems could actually be used without the owner consenting to such use (Biometrics: Authentication Technologies 2007).
Another fear has to do with the fact that without strong security, biometric information may be used wrongful for personal gain. Considering that they are supposed to be unique identifiers, biometric security systems should make identity theft more difficult. This is, however, not the case as biometric data can be stolen or copied when used in certain ways (Aspray & Doty 2011).
Bodily or Physical Privacy
This arises because everyone considers his or her body as being private property. First and foremost, a lot of people tend to be ashamed of using the biometric security due to the fact that certain technologies used with it are linked to crime. This is especially the case when fingerprint technology is used.
Secondly, there is the concern that one can suffer bodily harm as a result of using the biometric security system. Finally, many other people are so fearful that they may end up contracting diseases. These people are strongly convinced that by sharing a biometric security system with so many other people, infections can very easily move from one person to another. There is, however, no scientific proof for these beliefs (Biometrics: Authentication Technologies 2007).
Specifically, this is a problem that affects staunch Christians. The resistance from these people is founded on the teaching about the beast portrayed in the book of revelation. Although the number of such nonconformists is small, their concerns cannot in any way be overlooked. Clearly, those behind the development of the biometric security systems must work hard to come up with solutions that will guarantee people safety from all corners.
From the preceding discussion, it is imperative to have standards to control the design, implementation and use of biometric security systems. Such standards will be beneficial in ensuring that all biometric security systems as used as they are expected. As stated earlier, lack of standards or the use of poorly established standards will only serve to destroy the development of biometric standards.
Standards and Interoperability
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) defines the term standards as documented agreements that contain technical specifications or other precise criteria to be used consistently as rules, guidelines, or definitions of characteristics, to ensure that materials, products, processes, and services are fit for their specific purposes.
A significant consequence of using technologies that are not fully compliant with the standards established by standards-setting bodies is that the products in question will most likely not interoperate with the products of competing vendors. Again, if the products in question are not standards-based, then integrating local systems into a more extensive regional system at a later date will likely require a costly and operationally disruptive replacement of technology (Janker 2002).
Typically, standards provide a level of consistency that makes them the cornerstone for interoperability (Woodward 2004). The need for standards to guarantee interoperability is critical, especially because the biometric industry is currently in an evolving state.
One of the major problems affecting the biometric industry has to do with the fact that the biometric record formats, commonly referred to as templates, used in many current biometric security systems are proprietary and do not work with biometric equipment sold by competing vendors.
Simply put, the templates are not interoperable. The lack of interoperability in biometric template formats leads to biometric vendor lock-in that compels users to purchase all biometric readers and software from a single vendor. Sadly, this leaves users at a very awkward position in case they are dissatisfied with the vendor’s service. Imagine that an organization X purchases biometric readers and software from a vendor Y.
If vendor Y discontinues support for the purchased products because of bankruptcy or for any other reason, the said organization might end up losing its investment and might require doing a very costly replacement of technology acquired from vendor Y. Furthermore, if another vendor developed a product that appears to be much superior to that offered by vendor X, organization Y may be unable to take advantage of the superior product because of the expenses associated with having to change products prematurely (Woodward 2004).
There are also no currently approved national or international standards for measuring the accuracy of biometric standards. Due to this lack of established scientific standards for comparing the accuracy of different biometric standards, consumers are generally confused when evaluating the different biometric security systems anytime they are making purchases.
Without having reliable standards in place for evaluating the performance of the different biometric products, it becomes practically impossible to scientifically determine the best biometric product that one should go for. Because of these challenges, consumers are unable to tell how well the products they purchase from vendors can actually work.
In addition, lack of approved national or international standards for evaluating whether a product that claims to support a biometric standard actually conforms to the expected standard is also a challenge that must be fully addressed.
The lack of established conformance testing standards results in an inability to verify that a commercial product conforms to a particular agreed-upon standard, such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the International Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS). This makes it impossible to guarantee the interoperability of the product with other biometric products or system components.
Applicability and Relevance of Existing Biometric Standards
The different types of existing biometric standards in the United States are categorized as International Standards, U.S. National Standards, U.S. Government-Wide Standards, Third-Party Standards, and Department of Defense International Standards. International Standards are the standards formally approved and recognized by ISO or the Institute of Electro-technical Commission (IEC).
U.S. National Standards are the standards formally approved and recognized by ANSI, which is the official U.S. representative of the ISO and IEC organizations. U.S. Government-Wide Standards are established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for use by the U.S. federal departments and organizations.
Third-Party Standards represent standards documents developed by industry consortia or other organizations outside of the U.S. Government and the formal organizational structures such as ISO, IEC, or ANSI. Department of Defense International Standards typically exists for internal use by the U.S. Department of Defense (Woodward 2004).
Policies on Fingerprint and Face Recognition Systems
As the use of biometric systems continues to increase, policies are being formulated to ensure correct use and reliability of the systems. Even though both the fingerprint and face recognition technologies are designed with powerful features to make them successful, policies are very critical to ensure effectiveness.
Among other things, policies on the use of fingerprint and face recognition systems will guarantee proper use and help to reinforce tougher requirements for distortion tolerance, discrimination and security of a biometric system. This would help to strengthen research and development of better biometric sensors and other hardware, as well as new, more accurate algorithms and software. Beyond any doubt, this would bring technological benefits regarding the use of these technologies (Leeuw 2008).
Policies being formulated are also meant to help in overcoming the many security vulnerabilities of biometric systems. Some key issues that may be addressed by means of well-established policies include conformance to standards, performance, Biometric data interchange formats, biometric application profiles, and national information assurance partnership.
Conformance testing is the process of testing a technology implementation that claims to support a standard to determine if the implementation adheres to the standard. Policies that deal with conformance testing will help to specify the manner in which conformance testing should be performed and recorded. Unlike in other industry, this area remains underdeveloped in the biometric industry (Janker 2002).
Policies that relate to performance testing are intended to ensure the presence of uniform, repeatable methods that may be used to measure the accuracy, speed, durability, reliability, and security of biometric systems. Although this can be done with both a national and an international perspective in mind, it may be necessary to develop individual policies for certain applications.
As pointed out by Janker (2002), the area of biometric data interchange format specifications is the area in which biometric standards development progress is occurring quite rapidly. Policies formulated around this area are geared towards reinforcing the set standards and ensuring that quality is not in any way compromised.
Policies developed regarding this issue are meant to see to it that standards are strictly followed so as to provide logical groupings of subsets of other biometric standards such as data format standards, performance testing standards, and conformance testing standards. The groupings make it possible to offer a consolidated collection of requirements for use in biometric acquisition and system integration.
Without such policies, it would be at the discretion of the vendors to decide whether or not a technology will support other standards apart from the core support services. The national information assurance partnership (NIAP) protection profiles provide a comprehensive list of security requirements for biometric products.
One of the technical subjects in biometric protection profiles is the concept of strength of function. The strength of function is an estimate of the effort required by an attacker to defeat a security feature embedded in the biometric system. The finger-based interchange format (ANSI/INCITS 377-2004) standard specifies a method of creating biometric templates method of creating biometric template of fingerprint biometric information using ridge pattern measurements found in fingerprints (Moore 2010).
Data Format for the Interchange of Fingerprint and Facial Systems
The use of an all-inclusive will serve to encourage the growth of the fingerprint and facial systems. The information made available, defines the content, format, and units of measurement for the purpose of the exchange of fingerprint, and facial recognition system among any others.
Finger Image-Based Recognition Data Interchange Format
The finger image-based interchange format is applicable to biometric applications requiring exchange of raw or processed fingerprint images that may not be limited by the number of resources required for data storage or transmission time. With this standard, it is possible for scanned images of fingerprints to be exchanged quite easily between different systems for processing (Janker 2002).
The Face Recognition Format for Data Interchange
This specifies a method of creating biometric images of facial characteristics. Topics addressed by this specification include image dimensions such as position of eyes and the relative of the head in an image, lighting used in the image capture process, image resolution and focus, image colors, and the digital representation of all of these characteristics (Moore 2010).
Like the fingerprint pattern technique, the use of the face recognition data interchange format is not widespread and its commercial implementation is extremely slow. With time, however, the use of these formats will become more popular.
Biometric Template / Data Interchange Formats
When a sample of biometric data is obtained from a user at enrollment, that biometric sample must be stored in some form for later use in biometric identification and verification. At this writing, most vendors of biometric products store representations of biometric samples in proprietary, non-interoperable, data formats.
To facilitate interoperability of biometric products, the M1.3 Task Group on Biometric Data Interchange Formats has been developing several draft interchange format specifications since late 2002 (Moore 2010). The draft signature interchange format specifies a method that can be used to create biometric templates of handwriting signature samples.
The specification defines a signature image as a set of sequentially sampled X, Y points of a digitized signature. Apparently, the signature or sign interchange format is the only biometric type that is based on the behavioral biometric measurements that are currently going through the standardization process. Most of the other data interchange formats are based on physiological biometric measurements.
The hand geometry data interchange format specifies a method that can be used to record and store a digital representation of a hand within a given data structure. Some of the topics addressed by this specification include hand orientation during image capture, the use of finger alignment pins by the hand geometry reader, and the values of data header fields for the resulting data generated in an image capture operation (Janker 2002).
Biometric Security Policies
According to Aspray and Doty (2011), the review of biometric technologies and their applications raises a host of policy-related questions about usability, safety, security and the privacy of individuals involved.
The challenge regarding privacy has four different aspects which include the unauthorized collection where biometric traits about individuals is collected covertly, unnecessary collection of biometric characteristics that have no relation to current systems and do not improve security or convenience of authentication, unauthorized use and disclosure of biometric traits without the express consent of the individual, and function creep which is an expansion of the biometric system (Aspray & Doty 2011).
In addition to these concerns, biometric systems operate on the probability of a match. A misidentification error that would allow an unauthorized person to gain access to a system under another identity is also a privacy challenge. Ideally, simple identification does not require a person to make a claim to a specific identity.
The performance of the biometric system also affects privacy and this is a challenge that is unique to identity management using biometrics. The National Security and Technology Council Subcommittee on Biometrics published a report that outlined several challenges facing biometric systems. One of the categories of challenges was based on communications and privacy and stated three high priority needs that had to be addressed.
One of these needs is the fundamental understanding of biometric operations, technologies, and privacy principles to enable the discussion of the usage of biometric systems. The other need has to do with embedding privacy functionality at every level of the biometric subsystem and finally, there was the need for privacy-protecting applications that enhance public confidence and safeguard information (Aspray & Doty 2011)
One of the chosen policies being used by U.S. Department of Defense is the National Security Telecommunications and Information Systems Security Policy (NSTISSP). According to this policy, biometric techniques shall be considered as a requirement for all systems that are used to enter, to process, to store, to display, or to transmit national security information.
This shall be achieved through the acquisition and appropriate implementation of either evaluated or validated biometric-enabled products. These products should provide for the availability of the systems, ensure the integrity and confidentiality of information, and ensure the authentication and non-repudiation of parties in electronic transactions. The importance of this policy springs from the fact that there are currently no biometric products that are in compliance with the policy.
The process of becoming certified is time-consuming and expensive. However, product certification or validation increases the level of confidence in the security of such products. The other policy is Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Joint Vision 2010. This policy emphasizes the common usage that exists between services as well as increased interoperability among the available services and multinational partners.
Furthermore, the policy is also important because it demonstrates a level of commitment to and requirement for interoperability between the services and multinational partners. Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Vision 2020 is another policy that emphasizes interoperability as the foundation of effective joint, multinational, and inter-agency operations. It also emphasizes the general aspect of interoperability that covers technology, processes, and organizations.
This policy is also critical as it clearly demonstrates a long term commitment to and requirement for interoperability that will eventually guarantee a successful performance of joint operations. The United States Code, Title 10, Section 2223 is another policy that designates the responsibilities of Chief Information Officers and includes ensuring that Information Technology (I.T.) and national security systems standards that are applicable are well prescribed.
The policy is essential as it highlights the value of standards for I.T. and national security systems. DOD Directive 4630.5 is the policy that directs the use of a mission-related, outcome-based approach to ensure interoperability and supportability of I.T. and National Security Systems (NSS) throughout the U.S. Department of Defense.
The policy stresses the need for interoperability to be factored into the early stages of the life cycle of all DOD acquisition programs as well as procurements. Finally, the DOD Instruction 4630.8 policy also directs the use of a mission-related, outcome-based approach to ensure interoperability and supportability of I.T. and NSS throughout the Department of Defense. This policy expands upon the guidance in DOD Directive 4630.5 policy and gives the mandate to use interoperability test plans.
There is always a deep concern about the introduction of new technologies which may greatly impact on personal privacy. All technologies devoted at either identifying or understanding some personal features are looked at suspiciously by the general public (Kumar & Zhang 2010).
Although it is widely acknowledged that many individuals are fearful of the introduction of the biometric systems, it is presumed that as biometric methods become more prevalent, the familiarity with their operation should allay some of the fears (Wayman 2005). In the interim, a number of measures could help with their acceptance. Codes of practice written in simpler terms should clarify the rights and obligation of users and system owners.
There is little doubt that in the coming years, more organizations will embrace the use of biometric technology to increase the perception of security and to assist their service delivery systems. Also true is the fact that improved technology and advanced computer and biometric technology will make it possible to capture and store a life history of an individual’s information which can the provide information that may be used with a biometric system (Wayman 2005).
This fascinating but troubling reality must be accompanied with responsible and thoughtful decision making. In a democracy, power generally rests with the people and if the people feel threatened by the use of biometric technologies, they certainly have to carefully modify or even stop its use in reasonable situation. Ultimately, before biometric technologies can become successfully integrated in public sector settings, there are several challenges that must be met.
First, it will be imperative to provide timely and substantive procedures for individuals wishing to challenge adverse decisions based on biometric measures (Li & Jain 2009). This fact acknowledges that any comparisons that are made based on biometric measures are likely to be in error. Secondly, no one should be allowed to use biometric systems to gather information about individuals covertly. This will help to protect people’s privacy and will also go a long way to build public’s confidence as far as the use of biometric systems is concerned.
As argued by Woodward (2004), there are no significant legal obstacles to use of biometric systems by the army in the United States. Stakeholders in the biometric industry must certainly devise strong measures that will guarantee the privacy of individuals if the technology is to advance powerfully.
Essentially, it must be noted that biometric security standards can help a great deal to address protection of biometric data, management of the security of biometric systems, and assessment of the assurance level of biometric systems. If well controlled, biometric technology can be of great benefit to all citizens.
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