Biometrics is the study of automated methods of uniquely identifying human beings based upon their physical, biological or behavioral patterns. Information Technology is being harnessed lately in the identification process. The two main types of characteristics measured are physical (fingerprints, retinas, irises, facial pattern, hand measurement) or behavioral (signature, gait, typing pattern); voice falls somewhere on the borderline, and is considered a part of both. Although sophisticated biometrics is new, biometrics has been used in China for centuries where fingerprints and palm-prints have been used as identification.
Modern biometrics was established by Alphonse Bertillon who developed an anthropomorphic system. Later on, fingerprinting became the main plank of biometrics. In IT biometrics, first the biometrics of a person is recorded through registration. Thereafter, each time the person wants to enter the system, the biometric parameters are matched against the recorded template stored in the database. If the matching is successful, the person gains entry; otherwise there is rejection. As with all such systems, there are false alarms where legitimate persons do not gain access; unauthorized persons too gain access through close matching. The system where the rate of both false alarm as well as false entry is low, is better. The biometric systems are measured against seven categories: universality, uniqueness, permanence, performance, acceptability, collectability, circumvention.
From the very beginning, biometrics has generated many concerns. Identity theft, false use of biometric data, privacy concerns, etc raise many questions that proponents of biometrics try to push away from public glare. It is always safe to ensure the use for which biometric data would be put to. However, biometrics offers decent fool-proof way of identification, resulting in its wide usage across the world. In this section of the directory, we provide links to many biometrics resources, from information about various research fields, to biometric IT solutions.