The term biometics is a broad category of techniques that capture information about people. Biometric systems take physical and behavioural characteristics of people and compare them to stored records. For example, the ID photo is a common biometric, as its facial image is stored and can be compared to those of others or live individuals. This can help authorities determine a person’s identity. Although biometrics may be helpful in identifying individuals, it can also have negative consequences, resulting in mission creep.
Although fingerprints are permanent and highly distinctive, they also create a privacy risk. They are easily duplicated in another transaction, and if stored in a central database, the information can be misused. Also, the risk of secondary information being revealed by fingerprint cross-matching could rob an innocent person of their anonymity. Therefore, many data protection authorities prefer a decentralized biometric device. However, the United Nations Resolution of 14 December 1990 has no binding effect on the development of biometric technologies. It does, however, provide guidelines for computerized personal data files regulation. Despite this, many global legal deliberations rely on the broad concept of personal data, which may not be applicable to biometrics.
The appointment for biometrics may take about 15 to 20 minutes. There is no interview during the biometrics process. Biometrics appointments are separate from the interview, and applicants should never ask questions about their biometrics before they take the appointment. Moreover, the person taking the biometrics may be a separate contractor, and it’s inappropriate to raise concerns about the biometrics process. Besides, biometrics workers may not be familiar with immigration issues and the immigration process.
The use of biometrics for identity verification has diversified beyond the healthcare industry. Law enforcement agencies use biometrics to verify the identity of suspected criminals. A wide range of countries use biometrics for passports and foreign residence verification. The United States Department of Homeland Security uses biometrics to verify foreign residents and to retrieve medical records. Voice biometrics is also used in customer service centers. And the use of biometrics for authentication goes beyond health care, as it is increasingly popular in the consumer sector.
Currently, more than 1.2 billion travelers have a standardized digital portrait on secure documents. Automatic border control systems and self-service kiosks benefit from this. Such biometric systems speed up the immigration process, reduce queue length, and improve efficiency. Biometrics also improve security by providing irrefutable evidence. They are especially helpful in situations where the security of an individual’s identity may be compromised. So why are these systems so useful?
While the use of biometric systems has a wide range of benefits, some techniques are more appropriate for certain categories of individuals than others. For example, some techniques may work better on women than on men, or on people with light or dark skin. Some changes can affect the recognition of a person’s face, such as eyebrow or hair color. And the reliability of biometric equipment is critical. There are several factors that determine the accuracy of biometric identification.
Biometrics can be vulnerable to hackers, as well. While passwords can be changed, biometric data remains the same. And, in addition, biometrics may be stored in more places than people are aware of. So, while biometrics are a valuable asset, people may become complacent and neglect common sense security measures. Therefore, if you use biometrics in an unsecure way, you must be especially careful.
Biometrics may be a good way to improve identification services, but they are also a major privacy issue. Privacy considerations are necessary for any government or private sector organization considering the use of biometrics. Building privacy solutions into an initiative is more effective than trying to add them later. The Office of Privacy Commissioner of Canada can help you with this by conducting privacy audits or investigating complaints about biometric programs. The privacy commissioner’s role is to ensure that individuals are informed when their personal data is collected.
As a general rule, biometrics is the measurement of biological traits that distinguish a person from another. No two people are identical, and biometrics has proven to be a reliable form of identification. Biometrics is more secure than a pin and is easier to copy than a pin. So, biometrics can also be more convenient and less likely to be forgotten. It’s the future of security and is the best identification system.