What Are Biometrics? – White Paper

“Biometrics are our most unique physical (and behavioral) features that can be practically sensed by devices and interpreted by computers so that they may be used as proxies of our physical selves in the digital realm. In this way we can bond digital data to our identity with permanency, consistency, and unambiguity, and retrieve that data using computers in a rapid and automated fashion.”

Modes of Use & System Architecture

An “owner-based” biometric application is one by which a single individual uses one-to-one biometric verification to secure access to their own assets, such as a smart phone. A “permission-based” system involves the controller of an asset granting self-access to that asset, (e.g. a company using biometrics to grant employees access to their data). “Operator-based” applications require an authorized, trained operator of the device to collect biometrics from the individual providing the biometric sample, such as in a law enforcement application. “Kiosk-based” applications require capture to be performed by the subject without any training or experience and minimal instruction, such as in automated border control.

The location of the previously enrolled biometric template or templates to which template from a live-captured sample is compared can reside in any of several locations, including within a smart phone, on a credential such as an ID card chip or printed bar code, on a mobile biometric capture device, or on a central server. The location of the enrolled templates and the location where the match is performed are a function of the use case, performance, and security of the application. One-to-one biometric comparison can even be performed entirely on the chip of a smart card.

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