/* ---- Google Analytics Code Below */

Friday, April 29, 2022

Biometric Security

 Considering uses and misuses

New Approaches to Biometric Security

By Jake Widman, Commissioned by CACM Staff, April 28, 2022

Businesses and organizations of all sorts need to restrict access—to systems, devices, accounts, places, and more—to only those people who should have it. The most common method for accomplishing this is to require each user have a password, sometimes backed up with a code they get on their phone or by answers to questions about something personal, like their first car

An increasingly common alternative is biometric security: identifying someone by some physiological feature of their body. Every body is unique, and one's body is always available, while passwords and security questions can be forgotten. Fingerprints and facial recognition have become mainstream forms of biometric security (although both of these methods have downsides, which create demand for other physiological approaches).

New biometric security methods place a priority on contactless identification (such as facial recognition), propelled by the pandemic and the public's increased reluctance to touch shared surfaces. According to a study by Canadian-Indian market research firm Precedence Research, the contactless biometrics technology market was valued at $6.95 billion worldwide in 2021, and is expected to reach over $37.10 billion by 2030. Another market research organization, UAE-based Fact.MR, sees an even larger market for biometric security solutions growing from $17.1 billion this year to $78.6 billion in 2032.

Current downsides

The use of fingerprints for identification may date back to Babylonian times, when it was used as a form of signature on clay tablets. Modern Americans use their fingerprints for everything from getting a driver's license to unlocking their smartphones. However, fingerprint sensors are far from foolproof, as it is vulnerable to measures as simple as using adhesive tape to lift a fingerprint from a surface and using it to fool security into unlocking.

Facial recognition dates to the 1960s, when a researcher at the Rand Corporation used a digital tablet to mark coordinates of facial features on a grid. By 2017, smartphone manufacturers were offering facial recognition as a way for users to unlock their phones.

However, "The pandemic taught us that face recognition does not work with masks on, and certain ethnic groups have more difficulty being accurately identified than others," says Chris Jahnke, senior vice president for Global Business Development at EyeLock, a company that provides iris-based authentication. "To get around masks these days, some companies are using only what is available to be seen—the area around the eyes—and this greatly reduces their accuracy because they are taking fewer data points into consideration."

Facial recognition also raises privacy issues. For one thing, it can be used to track people in public, as well as just unlocking their phones. Users feel proprietary about their appearance, too, and worry about data breaches: the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in 2021 started using facial recognition-based security to allow taxpayers access to their accounts, but taxpayers reportedly found the process frustrating and intrusive, so the IRS discontinued its use of facial recognition software. .... ' 

No comments: