Biometrics + Identity


What are biometrics used for?
Biometrics were first used on a large scale by law enforcement, and this remains one of their most visible and effective applications for criminal identification. In the past few decades, the use of biometrics has increased significantly, and now encompass a variety of sectors and uses. Biometrics are now used to log onto mobile phones, secure borders, control access to sensitive facilities, protect financial transactions, verify time and attendance, secure networks, and prevent benefits fraud. And this is just the beginning – the uses of biometrics are constantly expanding.

What are the benefits of biometric technology?

Biometrics are a convenient, secure way to confirm individual identity than traditional methods.  Passwords, PINs and documents carry inherent challenges – they can be forged, compromised, or easily shared.  Since biometrics are unique to every individual, they offer a stronger level of verification.  They are not easily compromised which protects against misappropriation.  By enhancing traditional identity verification procedures with biometrics, security and efficiency can be significantly improved.

How do biometrics protect personal information from unauthorized disclosure? Traditional forms of identity verification, such as documents or passwords, are based on what a person has or what they know.  These kinds of identity are easily compromised – documents can be forged, passwords can be shared.  Biometrics, on the other hand, are a measurement of who a person is.  Since they are unique to a single individual, they constitute one of the strongest identity assurance methods currently available.  Biometrics can also be combined with other froms of identification to create multi-factor approach combining all three elements of something you know, have and are.

How do you know that biometric technology is safe to use? Biometric devices have been in wide use for over two decades. The technologies are non-intrusive and present no risk to public health and safety.

How cost-effective are biometric technologies? Biometric systems are a cost-effective approach to identity assurance and management. They have become more economical over the past several years due in large part to increased adoption across multiple industries . Additionally, biometric implementations often result in operational efficiencies through faster processing, limiting of labor intensive procedures and reduced fraud.

Fraud and compromise of sensitive data resulting from misrepresented identity are significant drivers of both direct and indirect costs when it comes to identity management. When identities are compromised, the cost of mitigating the impacts can be significant. Those costs are both monetary (the cost of mitigating the effects of a breach) and non-monetary (damage to a company or government’s reputation). By reducing or eliminating these high and unpredictable costs, biometric technology can offer significant savings over the life of a system.

Convenience and reliability of biometric technology frequently adds additional economic benefits over traditional forms of identity management. Biometrics allow users to confirm their identities without the need for cumbersome and time consuming verification procedures. Using automated biometric matching algorithms mitigates the need for manual verification by a person, significantly lowering the cost of identity management.
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