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Biometrics are an important and widely used class of methods for identity verification and access control. Biometrics are attractive because they are inherent properties of an individual. They need not be remembered like passwords and are not easily lost or forged like identifying documents. At the same time, biometrics are fundamentally noisy and irreplaceable. There are always slight variations among the measurements of a given biometric, and, unlike passwords or identification numbers, biometrics are derived from physical characteristics that cannot easily be changed. The proliferation of biometric usage raises critical privacy and security concerns that, due to the noisy nature of biometrics, cannot be addressed using standard cryptographic methods. In this article, we present an overview of secure biometrics, also referred to as biometric template protection, an emerging class of methods that address these concerns.
Date of Publication: Sept. 2013