Biometrics- Facts and Fiction
In response to worldwide security threats, entities in Australia have now been turning to a rather new security technology known as “Biometrics”. In simple terms, Biometrics is the science of confirming the identity of an individual based upon the unique features which he or she possesses. For example, everybody is familiar with the fingerprint. Each and every individual has a unique fingerprint. But, this example of uniqueness goes far beyond than just that.
Each and every individual has a unique hand shape, blood vessel pattern, voice pitch, face structure, and even a distinct eye pattern, which includes the retina (which is located at the back of the eye), and the iris (which is located at the front of the eye). These are all known as unique, physiological traits. As individuals, we also possess unique behaviorisms. This can include the way we type on the keyboard, or the way we sign our name on a piece of paper.
There are some exciting applications of Biometrics. For example, back in the plight of the Afghan crisis in the 1980’s, a photographer from National Geographic magazine took a picture of an Afghan refugee, known as “Sharbat Gula”. This picture became famous worldwide because of her illustrious, striking eyes. She was identified twenty years later by positive confirmation of her irises.
But famous examples can also mean controversial as well. For example, in the United States, early last decade, there was huge public outcry when facial recognition was being used covertly (without anybody’s knowledge or consent) to track down individuals of interest at a large football sporting event.
And of course, there are Biometrics in the James Bond movies. In one of the films, you can even see one of the bad guys taking a cloned image of a retina from a corpse, in order to enter a nuclear facility. But one has to remember, this just a fallacy! But seriously, I often get asked the question if it is possible to take a body part from a corpse and use it for verification, for instance to gain access into an ATM machine, in order to steal money. The answer is no, you need a live tissue sample in order to be registered by the Biometric device.
Just like in the United States, the adoption rate of Biometrics in Australia is also quite controversial and debatable. This is so because the citizens are afraid of privacy rights violations, and intrusion of civil liberties. As a result, the Australian businesses will take a long time to use Biometrics. You will find Biometrics being used in Australia primarily by the government, for the electronic passport, and for granting visas for overseas travel.