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Biometrics Case

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One of the incidents that could have shaken the society to accept the use of biometrics has already happened. The 9/11 terrorist attack frightened certain segments of the society to accept biometrics. President Bush announced that any alien entering the country would have to be fingerprinted. If such terrorists' attacks happen in rapid succession, it might frighten the society into accepting biometric identification. Another reason for the acceptance by society of biometrics is for the use of the technology. It can be used for verification and identification. When the society feels that the benefits of verification and identification using biometrics far outweigh the costs by way of privacy intrusion, the society will accept biometrics.

In my opinion, society will accept the use of biometrics in a couple (2015) years. This will be induced by pressure and the need to increase security and the benefits from verification and identification. In the year many years to come (2020), the US government may require biometric identification of every child born in the US. Before that there will be serious privacy concerns like what would happen if the biometric information is misappropriated and allows someone else to access personal information or financial data. The damage can be substantial and cannot be set right. In addition, the sensor's hardware has not yet developed to give uniform outcomes that can be encrypted and matched all over the country. The common information about each person must be shared across the country. This is very difficult to achieve. Finally, there are legal restrictions on collecting, creating, maintaining, using, or disseminating records of identifiable personal data and it will take a long time in overcoming these restrictions.

Since the earliest days of human history, we've needed to verify who the people around us are. In more recent times, as the human population has surged into the billions, that need has only intensified. Are you part of the tribe or are you an outsider? According to research by Robin Dunbar, an anthropologist at Oxford University, the average person can only recognize about 1,500 faces. That's a pretty astonishing number, but it pales in comparison to the numbers of people we come into contact with over a month or even a day.

Today, our identities are verified almost exclusively by one of two methods--things that you carry with you and things you remember. Driver's licenses and passports are examples of the former, passwords and PINs the latter. But physical identification is easy to fake, and passwords are easily cracked by hackers, who then have nearly unfettered access to our credit cards, bank accounts, and personal data. Something needs to change.

Biometrics could be that change. They are a fundamental shift in the way we are identified. Unlike traditional identification which you must either remember or carry with you, biometrics are you.



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