Chapter Ten. Usable Biometrics

Lynne Coventry

BIOMETRICS OFFER A TECHNOLOGICAL SOLUTION TO THE AUTHENTICATION OF INDIVIDUALS. Biometrics confirm that the actual person, rather than merely his or her token or identifier, is present. Thus, biometrics may reduce the effort of a person’s trying to identify himself and in doing so potentially reduce the chances of authentication fraud.

The term biometrics is derived from the Greek bio (life) and metric (measure). Biometrics, as a means of identification, can be traced back to both ancient Egypt[1] and China. Pioneering work on modern biometrics technologies dates back to the late 1960s, when researchers began looking at voice patterns, fingerprints, and hand geometry as a means for establishing unique individual identity. By the mid-1980s, the biometrics industry was established and the first systems went live in controlled environments. In recent years, with the heightened security concerns gripping much of the world and the rising amount of fraud in the commercial sector, biometrics technologies have received a great deal of attention. However, the application of biometrics spans all industries.

To date, the growth of biometrics technologies has been driven by a mainly system-centered approach, dealing with the problems of unique digital identifier extraction, template handling, and recognition algorithms. With very few exceptions,[2] , [3] , [4] the usability community has not been involved in the design or evaluation of biometrics, ...

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