AIS Updates

Learn All You Can About Biometrics


Have you heard of biometrics yet? Biometrics Research Group, Inc. defines biometrics as measurable physical and behavioral characteristics that enable the establishment and verification of an individual’s identity. Biometrics are a complex and evolving family of technologies. Essentially, biometrics is the process by which a person’s unique physical and other traits are detected and recorded by an electronic device. This is done as a means of confirming identity. The term “biometrics” derives from the word “biometry”, which refers to the statistical analysis of biological observations and phenomena. Since biometric identifiers are unique to individuals, they are far more reliable in verifying a person's identity than any type of token and knowledge-based methods. Someone may be able to steal your password, but they can't steal your fingerprints!

This is very exciting technology. Let's take the time now to learn a bit about biometrics. This emerging field is already booming and not likely to go away any time soon- or ever!

#1 A fingerprint biometric is not the same as a fingerprint

First, it is important to establish that a biometric is not the same as the thing it represents. A fingerprint biometric is a representation of multiple points on the fingerprint, and the relative positions of those points. The same basic principle applies to all biometrics, and biometrics vary in quality. A biometric comprising 20 or more points would be viewed as good quality, whereas one with just four or five would be viewed as inadequate. You probably have four matching points with hundreds of other people!

#2 There is a possible for a false positive

You're not looking at the entire fingerprint, you're looking at multiple points which are used to create the representation of the fingerprint. When a biometric is stored, it is referred to as a biometric profile of a person. Since a profile approximates a fingerprint, it is understandable that the same biometric can be generated for different people. Your fingerprint is unique to you, but it is possible you have 20 points that are the same as someone else. When someone "successfully" matches against someone else’s profile, this is referred to as a false positive. Don't worry if this happens to you. Have your fingerprints run again! A greater understanding of their strengths and limitations will greatly enhance their effectiveness, so this industry is fixing problems all the time.

#3 This technology is easier and cleaner for everyone

If you don't want to rub your fingers around in messy ink, you certainly are not alone. That is why many companies, organizations, and law enforcement agencies are switching to this digital format. It gets the task done much easier and cleaner. It's also faster, because your prints are sent to the database for checking right away!

If you have any questions about biometrics, how your fingerprints are used to confirm your identity, how digital fingerprinting works, or anything else about the industry, reach out to American Identity Solutions. We'd like to answer them for you and help!