Biometric Basics and Biometric Authentication

James L. Wayman, San Jose State University


Fundamental Concepts

A Short History

System Description


Data Collection


Signal Processing



Performance Testing

Types of Technical Tests

The National Physical Lab Tests

Biometrics and Information Security

Example Applications

Biometrics and Privacy

Intrinsic (or Physical) Privacy

Informational Privacy

Suggested Rules for Secure Use of Biometrics



Cross References



Biometric authentication is the automatic recognition of individual persons based on distinguishing biological (usually anatomical) and behavioral traits. The field is a subset of the broader field of human identification science. Example technologies include, among others, fingerprinting, face recognition, hand geometry, speaker recognition, and iris recognition. At the current level of technology, DNA analysis is a laboratory technique not fully automated and requiring human processing, so it not considered biometric authentication under this definition. Some techniques (such as iris recognition) are more biologically based, some (such as signature recognition) are more behaviorally based, but all techniques are influenced by both behavioral and biological elements.

Biometric authentication is frequently referred to as simply biometrics, although this latter word has historically been associated with the statistical analysis of general biological ...

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