Biometric Controls and Privacy

Biometric Controls and Privacy

Sean Lancaster (Miami University, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-012-7.ch015
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Biometrics is an application of technology to authenticate users’ identities through the measurement of physiological or behavioral patterns. The verification system offers greater security to the use of passwords or smart cards. Biometric characteristics cannot be lost or forgotten. As biometric characteristics are concerned with the very makeup of who we are, there are also security, privacy, and ethical concerns in their adoption.Fingerprint, iris, voice, hand geometry, face, and signature are all considered biometric characteristics and used in the authentication process. Examples of everyday biometric applications include thumbprint locks on laptop computers, fingerprint scanners to enter a locked door on a house, and facial recognition scans for forensic use. While there are several examples of biometrics currently in use, it is still an emerging technology. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a descriptive discussion of the current and future state of biometrics.
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The world is growing increasingly digital as information systems and networks span the globe. As individuals, customers, employees, and employers, we can often connect to the Internet, and to our information systems, from anytime and anywhere. The freedom and flexibility that technology provides is truly astounding when compared to the limits placed on society just a few years ago.

Furthermore, data is recognized as a valuable resource. The information and knowledge that is created with this data is vital to business, trade, and the increased convenience of common day-to-day activities. We use this data to answer a variety of questions. Companies collect and aggregate data on their customers, products, and competitors. Individuals save confidential files on their hard and soft drives. How is this data secured? How are the physical and digital systems that store this data secured? How can we, as citizens of a digital society, protect ourselves from the theft of this private data? If you do not trust the information you are working with, you will not trust the decisions made with that data’s analysis.

Biometrics is becoming more and more common as an answer to those questions. Biometric devices are a means of authenticating user identity or identifying someone from a list of possible matches. This chapter will cover why biometrics is needed, how they are used, important issues in their adoption, and future trends in their evolution.Learning Objectives:

  • Learn the significance of privacy and the risk of identity theft

  • Better understand the need for biometrics in modern society

  • Comprehend the technical, economic, business, and ethical issues related to biometrics


The Need For Biometrics

Imagine the most typical of e-commerce transactions, purchasing an item from an online Web site. You select the merchandise and begin to check out by filling in your personal information to complete the order. Now, also imagine someone standing over your shoulder watching and recording the data that you submit. Even worse, once you are finished, this person uses that data to impersonate you, accessing and using your credit.

Fraud and identity theft are common examples of cybercrime. The United States’ Federal Trade Commission reported nearly 700,000 cases, with losses totaling nearly $700 million, of identity theft and online fraud during 2005 (Consumer Fraud, 2006). The same report from the FTC listed the most common methods consumer information was misused. A summary of that list can be found in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

A key aspect of both fraud and identity theft is the ability of the cybercriminal to impersonate the victim while convincing others of the fraudulent identity. This is especially true for systems that require only passwords, user logins, or simple ID swipe cards. For each of these, cybercriminals are able to obtain the password, login, or card through techniques that range from human engineering to user carelessness to sophisticated software programs. Once the cybercriminal has obtained the password or ID card, there is little to stop them from impersonating the victim. The password and card provide access to the prey’s physical and digital systems and assets. Examples include access to bank accounts, to credit, to government services, and through physical entryways.

In this light, biometric security measures would be particularly useful because their use of unique human characteristics makes it far less likely that a cybercriminal would be successful impersonating the victim. While a cyberthief may steal a password it becomes harder to steal the pattern of veins in a retina and more difficult to forge someone else’s fingerprints.

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Kuanchin Chen, Adam Fadlalla
Chapter 1
Andrew Pauxtis
What began as simple homepages that listed favorite Web sites in the early 1990’s have grown into some of the most sophisticated, enormous... Sample PDF
Google: Technological Convenience vs. Technological Intrusion
Chapter 2
Angelena M. Secor
In this chapter, consumer online privacy legal issues are identified and discussed. Followed by the literature review in consumer online privacy... Sample PDF
A Taxonomic View of Consumer Online Privacy Legal Issues, Legislation, and Litigation
Chapter 3
Hy Sockel, Louis K. Falk
There are many potential threats that come with conducting business in an online environment. Management must find a way to neutralize or at least... Sample PDF
Online Privacy, Vulnerabilities, and Threats: A Manager's Perspective
Chapter 4
Thejs Willem Jansen
Governments and large companies are increasingly relying on information technology to provide enhanced services to the citizens and customers and... Sample PDF
Practical Privacy Assessments
Chapter 5
Leszek Lilien, Bharat Bhargava
Any interaction—from a simple transaction to a complex collaboration—requires an adequate level of trust between interacting parties. Trust includes... Sample PDF
Privacy and Trust in Online Interactions
Chapter 6
Huong Ha, Ken Coghill
The current measures to protect e-consumers’ privacy in Australia include (i) regulation/legislation; (ii) guidelines; (iii) codes of practice; and... Sample PDF
Current Measures to Protect E-Consumers' Privacy in Australia
Chapter 7
Anil Gurung, Anurag Jain
Individuals are generally concerned about their privacy and may withhold from disclosing their personal information while interacting with online... Sample PDF
Antecedents of Online Privacy Protection Behavior: Towards an Integrative Model
Chapter 8
Alan Rea, Kuanchin Chen
Protecting personal information while Web surfing has become a struggle. This is especially the case when transactions require a modicum of trust to... Sample PDF
Privacy Control and Assurance: Does Gender Influence Online Information Exchange?
Chapter 9
Bernadette H. Schell, Thomas J. Holt
This chapter looks at the literature—myths and realities—surrounding the demographics, psychological predispositions, and social/behavioral patterns... Sample PDF
A Profile of the Demographics, Psychological Predispositions, and Social/Behavioral Patterns of Computer Hacker Insiders and Outsiders
Chapter 10
Chiung-wen ("Julia") Hsu
This chapter introduces a situational paradigm as a means of studying online privacy. It argues that data subjects are not always opponent to data... Sample PDF
Privacy or Performance Matters on the Internet: Revisiting Privacy Toward a Situational Paradigm
Chapter 11
Tom S. Chan
While delivering content via the Internet can be efficient and economical, content owners risk losing control of their intellectual property. Any... Sample PDF
Online Consumer Privacy and Digital Rights Management Systems
Chapter 12
Betty J. Parker
Marketing practices have always presented challenges for consumers seeking to protect their privacy. This chapter discusses the ways in which the... Sample PDF
Online Privacy and Marketing: Current Issues for Consumers and Marketers
Chapter 13
Suhong Li
The purpose of this chapter is to investigate the current status of online privacy policies of Fortune 100 Companies. It was found that 94% of the... Sample PDF
An Analysis of Online Privacy Policies of Fortune 100 Companies
Chapter 14
Andy Chiou
In this chapter, the authors will briefly discuss some cross cultural concerns regarding Internet privacy. The authors believe that due to the cross... Sample PDF
Cross Cultural Perceptions on Privacy in the United States, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Taiwan
Chapter 15
Sean Lancaster
Biometrics is an application of technology to authenticate users’ identities through the measurement of physiological or behavioral patterns. The... Sample PDF
Biometric Controls and Privacy
Chapter 16
G. Scott Erickson
This chapter focuses on the specific issue of the federal Freedom of Information Act and associated state and local freedom of information laws.... Sample PDF
Government Stewardship of Online Information: FOIA Requirements and Other Considerations
Chapter 17
Charles O’Mahony
This chapter will discuss the legal framework for consumer and data protection in Europe. Central to this discussion will be the law of the European... Sample PDF
The Legal Framework for Data and Consumer Protection in Europe
Chapter 18
Karin Mika
This chapter provides an overview of law relating to online and Internet medical practice, data protection, and consumer information privacy. It... Sample PDF
Cybermedicine, Telemedicine, and Data Protection in the United States
Chapter 19
J. Michael Tarn
This chapter explores the current status and practices of online privacy protection in Japan. Since the concept of privacy in Japan is different... Sample PDF
Online Privacy Protection in Japan: The Current Status and Practices
About the Contributors