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Biometrics: Analysis and Implications.

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Introduction

Biometrics: Analysis and Implications Criterion A: Describing the Issue Throughout history, people have used different systems of identity verification, ranging from visual body characteristics, or simple facial qualities. However, Biometrics provide a new field of advanced identity verification, as it grants techniques from the popular fingerprint, to the accurate iris and the interesting retina scanning. It has been recorded that even in antique times, people have used biometric identity verification to enhance duties (e.g., administration and provision of food)2. Biometrics have the ability to positively identify or authenticate an individual, thereby preventing a host of identity-related fraud issues, especially of concern now in an increasingly on-line world. But biometrics also have the ability to track individuals and their transactions, and to be used as a universal identifier which can associate or link various sources of personal information to an individual -- in either case, without their consent3. ATM's with the ability to discern emotions have been built, but as easily, databases can be built to collect the emotional state of people, and sell that information to third- party companies1. ...read more.

Middle

However, new forms of biometric like voice verification and signature verification take another approach using waveform and a number of unprecedented methodologies Criterion C: Analysing the Impact of the Issue A biometric such as a fingerprint can be used as a unique surrogate of one's identity which, as a unique identifier, can be used to trace people's transactions and link massive amounts of personal data about them. If my fingerprints are stored in a database, then my transactions, whereabouts and personal information can easily be tracked. It does not really matter for what purpose the biometric information was assembled -- whether it was for welfare registration or bank machine access, the same point applies. If someone happens to be on welfare and innocently leave his latent fingerprints at a night club which later becomes the scene of a crime, any latent prints of his picked up could be matched to the fingerprint database compiled for welfare recipients. ...read more.

Conclusion

The protection mechanism must not depend on the ignorance of potential attackers. The mechanism should be open to public scrutiny, just as cryptographic algorithms are subjected to. A step in the right direction is to encrypt the digital templates stored in the database. These encrypted biometrics improve privacy protection since matching efforts could not be accomplished without access to the encryption key. In this case, essential management would be the weak link. Who is going to have control over the encryption keys? With essential management, as with key escrow in a security system, privacy is based on a trust model. Criterion E: Selecting and Using Sources 1Mercer, Brandon. "Can Computers Read Your Mind?." TechTV 10/28/02. News. <http://www.techtv.com/news/computing/story/0,24195,3386341,00.html>. 2Ashbourn, Julian. Biometrics: Advanced Identity Verification. Great Britain: Springer-Verlag London Limited, 2000. 3N/A. "Biometric Identifiers." Biometrics. 08/07/02. Electronic Privacy Information Center. <http://www.epic.org/privacy/biometrics/default.html>. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Walker, Steven M.. "Biometric Selection: Body Parts Online." SANS Institute 07/26/02. Security Awareness. <http://www.sans.org/rr/authentic/parts_online.php>. Tomko, George. Biometrics as a Privacy-Enhancing Technology: Friend or Foe of Privacy?. 09/15/98. <http://www.dss.state.ct.us/digital/tomko.htm>. ...read more.

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