But the evolution of biometrics in the form of automated identification of finger prints, geometry of hand, iris construction, facial structure, genetic makeup etc. is a relatively new phenomenon. Portuguese explorer Joao de Barros also points out1 the existence of Biometrics in China in the 14th century. Barros narrates that Chinese merchants used to stamp their children's palm prints and footprints on a piece of paper with ink. This way the Chinese merchants used to distinguish the young children from one another. This can be termed as the beginning of the modern biometrics. The recent advances in Information Technology and computing have provided newer dimension to this emerging field. During the last couple of decades biometrics has established itself as a comprehensive tool for establishing Identities and Verification.
In 1890, Alphonse Bertillon, a Parisian police desk, studied body length to identify criminals. Subsequently the method came to be known as Bertillonage method, which relied heavily on measuring the body length. But the method did not last long as there were many false alarms as a result of false identifications. Thereafter, finger printing became the reliable method of identifying the criminals. There are human rights groups and civil liberties advocates argue that increasing use of biometrics has resulted in trespassing into the privacy of all human beings, but the rise in terrorist activities in recent years has forced the defense and security experts to rely heavily on the biometrics for identifying the mischief makers.
Types of Biometrics and their usage
A biometric system is designed to test one out of the two possible hypotheses (Wayman et al., 2005):
(1) That the submitted samples are from an individual known to the system; or
(2) That the submitted samples are from an individual not known to the system.
Applications to test the first hypothesis are called "positive identification" systems (verifying a positive claim of enrollment), while applications testing the latter are "negative identification" systems (verifying a claim of no enrollment).
Biometrics, in general can be divided into two main groups, physiological and behavioral
i. Physiological factors: These factors depend upon the physical structure and appearance of the individual.
Iris Scan: The Iris of an individual is scanned to match it with the stored image. Quite often the iris scan may not come out with actual on if the person is putting on dark glasses, or is suffering from some eye disease.
Fingerprint: This is one of the oldest tried and tested methods of biometrics. In fact the nail is also included for identification in fingerprinting.
Hand: This includes the structure of knuckles, palm and the vascular networking of hand.
Face, Earlobe, Lips: The camera scans the facial structure or the fleshy pendulous part of the external ear or lips of the individual.
Voice: The voice is also one of the most distinguishing features to identify an individual. Therefore the voice patterns form one of the most dependable biometric measures.
Retina: like iris, the retinal structure too provides an insight into the nature and character of the person.
DNA: This method too is quite frequently used in a number of cases to establish the identity of the individual.
Body Odor and Sweat Pores: There are biometric techniques which can sense the