The FBI uses biometric systems and fingerprint capture tools to identify suspects. The FBI’s Flyaway Program (MBAP) is one such example of a biometric system that is currently in use. This system uses a mobile device – an FBI-issued smart phone or tablet – to capture fingerprint data. Using this data, law enforcement officials are able to positively identify a suspect, even if they’re far away from the country.
The NIST Biometrics Technology team has identified a number of user characteristics that affect fingerprint performance:
a person’s inborn traits, such as their age, gender, and height (anthropometrics)
- Knowledge of the technology or instrument, or experience
- Physical limitations — aptitude
- Perception — comfort level with or acceptance of the tool or procedure The risk of germs on the scanner has caused alarm in 2% of the population. The slick glass and metal surfaces give off a sticky-feeling haptic input. In order to reduce this effect, automated teller machines are often fashioned of hard, matte-textured plastic.
These user characteristics require that we examine certain Biometrics Technology system factors:
- Physical characteristics of the device
- Instructions and learning materials
The privacy implications of biometric data are complicated. Similar to that of a password database, the risk of misuse of biometric data is similar but different. While passwords can be changed, biometric data is permanent. Hence, biometric systems require multiple authentication methods. Moreover, some biometric systems incorporate additional features for better security. As the world continues to become increasingly connected, it is imperative to secure personal data. But before making the switch, consider what privacy concerns arise from biometrics.
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