BIOMETRICS refers to the automatic identification of a person based on his physiological / behavioral characteristics. This method of identification is preferred for various reasons;the person to be identified is required to be physically present at the point of identification; identification based on biometric techniques obviates the need to remember a password or carry a token. With the increased use of computers or vehicles of information technology, it is necessary to restrict access to sensitive or personal data. By replacing PINs, biometric techniques can potentially prevent unauthorized access to fraudulent use of ATMs, cellular phones, smart cards, desktop PCs, workstations, and computer networks. PINs and passwords may be forgotten, and token based methods of identification like passports and driver’s licenses may be forged, stolen, or lost .Thus biometric systems of identification are enjoying a renewed interest. Various types of biometric systems are being used for real–time identification ; the most popular are based on face recognition and fingerprint matching. However there are other biometric systems that utilize iris and retinal scan, speech, facial thermo grams, and hand geometry.
A biometric system is essentially a pattern recognition system, which makes a personal identification by determining the authenticity of a specific physiological or behavioral characteristics possessed by the user. An important issue in designing a practical system is to determine how an individual is identified. Depending on the context, a biometric system can be either a verification (authentication) system or an identification system. There are two different ways to resolve a person’s identity : Verification and Identification. Verification ( Am I whom I claim I am ?) involves confirming or denying a person’s claimed identity. In Identification one has to establish a person’s identity (whom am I?). Each one of these approaches has its own complexities and could probably be solved best by a certain biometric system.
Biometrics is rapidly evolving technology, which is being used in forensics such as criminal identification and prison security, and has the potential to be used in a large range of civilian application areas . Biometrics can be used transactions conducted via telephone and Internet (electronic commerce and electronic banking) . In automobiles, biometrics can replace keys with key -less entry devices.
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