Biometrics: In Search of a Foolproof Solution

Biometrics: In Search of a Foolproof Solution

Katina Michael (University of Wollongong, Australia) and M.G. Michael (University of Wollongong, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-795-9.ch008
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Abstract

Biometrics is not only considered a more secure way to identify an individual but also a more convenient technique whereby the individual does not necessarily have to carry an additional device, such as an ID card. As defined by the Association for Biometrics (AFB) a biometric is “...a measurable, unique physical characteristic or personal trait to recognize the identity, or verify the claimed identity, of an enrollee.” The technique is not a recent discovery. There is evidence to suggest that fingerprinting was used by the ancient Assyrians and Chinese at least since 7000 to 6000 BC (O’Gorman, 1999, p. 44). Over a thousand years ago, potters in East Asia, placed their fingerprints on their wares as an early form of brand identity and in Egypt’s Nile Valley, merchants were identified by their physical characteristics (Raina, Woodward & Orlans, 2002, p. 25). The practice of using fingerprints in place of signatures for legal contracts is hundreds of years old (Shen & Khanna, 1997 p. 1364). It is believed that the first scientific studies investigating fingerprints were conducted some time in the late sixteenth century (Lee & Gaensslen, 1994).
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Biometric Technology

Historical Overview

Manual Biometrics

Biometrics is not only considered a more secure way to identify an individual but also a more convenient technique whereby the individual does not necessarily have to carry an additional device, such as an ID card. As defined by the Association for Biometrics (AFB) a biometric is “...a measurable, unique physical characteristic or personal trait to recognize the identity, or verify the claimed identity, of an enrollee.” The technique is not a recent discovery. There is evidence to suggest that fingerprinting was used by the ancient Assyrians and Chinese at least since 7000 to 6000 BC (O’Gorman, 1999, p. 44). Over a thousand years ago, potters in East Asia, placed their fingerprints on their wares as an early form of brand identity and in Egypt’s Nile Valley, merchants were identified by their physical characteristics (Raina, Woodward & Orlans, 2002, p. 25). The practice of using fingerprints in place of signatures for legal contracts is hundreds of years old (Shen & Khanna, 1997 p. 1364). It is believed that the first scientific studies investigating fingerprints were conducted some time in the late sixteenth century (Lee & Gaensslen, 1994).

In the nineteenth century Alphonse Bertillon in France developed anthropometrics as well as noting peculiar marks on a person such as scars or tattoos. It was as early as 1901 that Scotland Yard introduced the Galton-Henry system of fingerprint classification (Halici, L.C. Jain, Erol, 1999, p. 4; Fuller et al. 1995, p. 14). Since that time fingerprints have traditionally been used in law enforcement. As early as 1960, the FBI Home Office in the UK and the Paris Police Department began auto-ID fingerprint studies (Halici, L.C. Jain, Erol, 1999, p. 5). Until then limitations in computing power and storage had prevented automated biometric checking systems from reaching their potential. Yet it was not until the late 1980s when personal computers and optical scanners became more affordable that automated biometric checking had an opportunity to establish itself as an alternative to smart card or magnetic-stripe auto-ID technology.

Background

According to Parks (1990, p. 99), the personal traits that can be used for identification include: facial features, full face and profile, fingerprints, palmprints, footprints, hand geometry, ear (pinna) shape, retinal blood vessels, striation of the iris, surface blood vessels (e.g., in the wrist), electrocardiac waveforms. Withers (2002), Jain, A. et al. (1999), Lockie (2000), Ferrari et al. (1998, p. 23) and Hawkes (1992, p. 6/4) provide good overviews of various biometric types. Keeping in mind that the aforementioned list is not exhaustive, it is impressive to consider that a human being or animal can be uniquely identified in so many different ways. Unique identification, as Zoreda and Oton (1994, p. 165) point out, is only a matter of measuring a permanent biological trait whose variability exceeds the population size where it will be applied. As a rule however, human physiological or behavioral characteristics must satisfy the following requirements as outlined by Jain et al. (1997, pp. 1365f):

  • Universality: Every person should possess that characteristic

  • Uniqueness: No two persons should have the same pattern in terms of that characteristic

  • Permanence: The characteristics should not change over time (i.e. invariance)

  • Collectability: The characteristic should be quantifiably measurable.

The four most commonly used physiological biometrics include, face, fingerprint, hand geometry and iris while the two most common behavioral biometrics are signature and voice recognition. Other examples of biometric types include DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), ear shape, odor, retina, skin reflectance, thermogram, gait, keystroke, and lip motion (Bolle et al., 2007, p. 7; Greening, Kumar, Leedham, 1995, pp. 272-278). Even the Electroencephalogram (EEG) can be used as a biometric as proven by Paranjape et al. (2001, pp. 1363-1366). Most of these techniques satisfy the following practical requirements (Jain et al., 1997, p. 1366):

  • Performance: Refers to whether or not the identifier is accurate, there are technical resources able to capture and process that identifier, and whether there are environmental factors which impact negatively on the decision policy outcome

  • Acceptability: Addresses whether or not people are willing to use the system

  • Circumvention: Refers to how easily a system may be duped.

Complete Chapter List

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Dedication
Table of Contents
Foreword
Elaine Lawrence
Acknowledgment
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
Chapter 1
Introduction  (pages 1-24)
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
This study is concerned with the automatic identification (auto-ID) industry which first came to prominence in the early 1970s. Auto-ID belongs to... Sample PDF
Introduction
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Chapter 2
Innovation Studies  (pages 25-42)
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
This chapter will explore literature in the field of innovation in order to establish a conceptual framework for the auto-ID trajectory research.... Sample PDF
Innovation Studies
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Chapter 3
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
This chapter takes the reader through a historical tour of identification techniques from ancient times to the present. The histories shed light on... Sample PDF
Historical Background: From Manual Identification to Auto-ID
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Chapter 4
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
National security measures can be defined as those technical and non-technical measures that have been initiated as a means to curb breaches in... Sample PDF
Globalization and the Changing Face of IDentification
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Chapter 5
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
Of all the auto-ID technologies in the global market today, barcode is the most widely used. In 1994, Cohen (p. 55) wrote “...barcode technology is... Sample PDF
Barcode: The Pioneer Auto-ID Technology
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Chapter 6
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
Almost simultaneously that the retail industry underwent revolutionary changes with the introduction of bar code, the financial industry adopted... Sample PDF
Magnetic-Stripe Cards: The Consolidating Force
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Chapter 7
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
The history of the smart card begins as far back as 1968. By that time magnetic-stripe cards while not widespread, had been introduced into the... Sample PDF
Smart Cards: The Next Generation
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Chapter 8
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
Biometrics is not only considered a more secure way to identify an individual but also a more convenient technique whereby the individual does not... Sample PDF
Biometrics: In Search of a Foolproof Solution
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Chapter 9
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
Radio frequency identification (RFID) in the form of tags or transponders is a means of auto-ID that can be used for tracking and monitoring... Sample PDF
RFID Tags and Transponders: The New Kid on the Block
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Chapter 10
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
This chapter analyses the findings from the case studies on bar codes, magnetic-stripe cards, smart cards, biometrics and RFID tags and... Sample PDF
The Auto-ID Technology System
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Chapter 11
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
This chapter is about geographic information systems (GIS) and its relevance to the location-based services industry. One might initially ask how... Sample PDF
Geographic Information Systems & Location-Based Services
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Chapter 12
The Auto-ID Trajectory  (pages 329-363)
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
This chapter considers the automatic identification (auto-ID) trajectory within the context of converging disciplines to predict the realm of likely... Sample PDF
The Auto-ID Trajectory
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Chapter 13
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
The number of automatic identification (auto-ID) technologies being utilized in eBusiness applications is growing rapidly. With an increasing trend... Sample PDF
The Socio-Ethical Implications of Automatic Identification and Location Services
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Chapter 14
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
When Jacques Ellul (1964, p. 432) predicted the use of “electronic banks” in his book, The Technological Society, he was not referring to the... Sample PDF
The Rise of the Electrophorus
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Chapter 15
Uberveillance  (pages 464-484)
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
Uberveillance, also überveillance, is an above and beyond, an exaggerated, an almost omnipresent 24/7 electronic surveillance. It is a surveillance... Sample PDF
Uberveillance
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Chapter 16
Conclusion  (pages 485-496)
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
This chapter is dedicated to identifying the main outcomes of the study and reflections on the future directions of the technologies that were under... Sample PDF
Conclusion
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Acronyms and Abbreviations
About the Contributors