There are various biometric technologies available and though this paper will look into each of them, the major focus would be on fingerprint and iris biometrics. Fingerprint biometrics has remained popular not only among governments but also in corporate institutions. There would be various advantages as to support this popularity, but Cole (2005) noted that this technology has a false positive rate of between 0.08% and 4.4%. As compared to its counterpart, Cole (2005) further appreciates the accuracy that organizations could enjoy if the recent iris biometrics technology would be used instead. This system has a false acceptance rate at 1 per 1.2 million of two matching irises. This paper seeks to address security agencies from both the government and corporate organizations on concerns on errors in fingerprint biometrics with illustration using relevant examples. In spite of these drawbacks, application of biometrics by governments and corporations enhance border security and data protection.
Biometrics pertains to unique methods of recognizing human beings on the basis of intrinsic behavioral or physical traits. According to Acharya and Kasprzycki (2010), it is the semi-automated or automated use of behavioral or physiological traits to verify or determine identity. Its application in computer science ensures access control and identity access management. Its application has however been extended to persons under surveillance. Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001, the governments worldwide turned to biometrics capability to increase airport security and border crossings and for production of identity documents that are more secure. Similarly, biometrics has received tremendous demand for employment or testing in commercial applications. Human beings possess various chemical, physiological and behavioral aspects that would be important in biometric authentication. The choice of which aspect to use would be guided by several factors. Liu notes that the chosen aspect should be universal such that all subjects possess it (2011). The trait should be unique for each member of the population for differentiation. Permanence would show how a trait varies with time with a desirable permanence being that with reasonable invariance over time with regard to a specific matching algorithm. The trait should be easy to collect, extract and process. Performance would indicate how robust, fast and accurate a system is while acceptability would indicate how people would accept their biometric trait not only to be captured but also assessed. Finally, the trait should also not be easily circumvented. It is with this in mind that various biometrics have been developed with time in an attempt to have one that would effectively encompass all these traits. Operation of biometrics Any biometric system operates in two modes, namely; verification and identification (Cole, 2005). Verification mode allows for comparison of the captured biometric with a specified pre-existing template saved in a biometric database so as to confirm the person’s claim of identity. It would involve use of ID number, username or smart card to indicate the template to be used in comparison. With identification, the system would be prompted to compare against a whole biometric database