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Biometrics in Identity Management Systems

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1 Author(s)
Wayman, J.L. ; San Jose State Univ., San Jose

Biometric technology - the automated recognition of individuals using biological and behavioral traits - has been presented as a natural identity management tool that offers "greater security and convenience than traditional methods of personal recognition." Indeed, many existing government identity management systems employ biometrics to assure that each person has only one identity in the system and that only one person can access each identity. Historically, however, biometric technology has also been controversial, with many writers suggesting that biometrics invade privacy, that specific technologies have error rates unsuitable for large-scale applications, or that the techniques "are useful to organizations that regulate the individual, but of little use where the individual controls identification and authorization." Here, I address these controversies by looking more deeply into the basic assumptions made in biometric recognition. I'll look at some example systems and delve into the differences between personal identity and digital identity. I'll conclude by discussing how those whose identity is managed with biometrics can manage biometric identity management.

Published in:

Security & Privacy, IEEE  (Volume:6 ,  Issue: 2 )