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Biometric Identification: Are Privacy Concerns Warranted?


We see today the inexorable movement to the adoption of biometric identification for the securing of many applications from logical and physical access to various forms of credentials such as driver's licenses, passports, and frequent flyer identification cards.  How are we to interpret this shift to biometrics?  Should we consider that such techniques are an invasion of our privacy?  Are Michael Chertoff's statements that  "a fingerprint is hardly personal data because you leave it on glasses and silverware and articles all over the world, they're like footprints. They're not particularly private" reflective of the beliefs of the populous at large?

It appears that the primary concern of all people should be the convenience and greater security that biometrics produces as well as the degree to which biometric templates are themselves secured.  Any popular biometric identification system should include safeguards as to the integrity of its storage of biometric templates, strength of encryption, and resistance to be spoofed or hacked.  By incorporating these features, the privacy of the biometric templates and attendant data of the system's users can be virtually assured.  If these attributres are present, then the enhanced security provided by the use of biometric identification and biometric authentication can be confidently utilized to make our lives more secure and less vulnerable to attack. 



Trust begins at the enrollment process. If the biometric system cannot uniquely identify each and every credential (in this case, fingerprint) being enrolled, then there is an inherent vulnerability present at all times in the system in that a corrupt administrator can potentially "take-over" another's biometric identity. A sound biometric system must enforce uniqueness of each identifier in order to establish a baseline for security.
Posted @ Friday, May 09, 2008 11:59 AM by
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