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Biometrics and Consumer Electronics: A Brave New World or the Road to Dystopia? [Soapbox]

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Biometric systems confirm a person's identity by extracting and comparing patterns in their physical characteristics against computer records of those patterns. Examples include scans of the face, iris, or retina; measurements of hand geometry, palm or finger vein patterns; fingerprints, ear structure, voice patterns, or any other characteristic of the physical person that represents a unique attribute. The extracted patterns are matched against previously registered patterns, and, within certain tolerances, a confirmed match can be used to authenticate an individual's identity. In most practical systems, there is a need for a large, centralized data repository for storing the registered patterns, and substantial computing power is often required to process new patterns and compare these to the stored data set.

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IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine  (Volume:2 ,  Issue: 2 )