Over the last two decades there has been an increase in the interest in, and uptake of, automated biometric systems. Biometrics are now commonly being integrated into a range of large and complex information communication technology systems and processes, and access to this data is becoming virtual rather than physical. We see the use of contemporary biometric systems being implemented throughout the world in areas such as national ID systems, border security control, crime prevention, fraud detection, forensics, war zone applications, attendance recording, access control and financial transactions.
These advanced automated systems use a scanner to take a biometric sample or what is known as a digital image from an individual during enrolment. Data are then extracted from the sample image to create a unique biometric template. The biometric data, either in image form or the template or both, can then be stored centrally in a database or in a distributed environment, such as a smart card. The biometric data can now serve to either verify or identify an enrolled individual.
Ann Cavoukian, Ph.D.
Information and Privacy Commissioner
Alex Stoianov, Ph.D.
Senior Policy Specialist –
Surveillance, Biometrics, IT Security