Biometric Imaging Faces a Reality Check

Hype or reality: Industry insiders discuss biometric imaging and security concerns


Jim Carlson, Lockheed Martin: Standards are critically important for the expanding use of biometrics, and are addressed domestically and internationally. Multi-mode biometrics is where the most focus is needed today. The goal of these efforts is to ensure commonality and interoperability across systems and between programs. This goal has been achieved for some applications, as can be seen with fingerprints in the law enforcement community. Private Sector Known Traveler, for example, requires the solution to comply to a host of standards with the goal of achieving interoperability, regardless of the specific implementation or location.

Peter Kalocsai, Pelco: It is very important, but fortunately we have come a long way already. Thanks to international (ISO), national (ANSI/INCITS) and even informal organizations (BioAPI Consortium, JFC, The Biometric Consortium, OASIS), the standardization of biometric image data and its exchange is nearly completed. Another important element is ensuring software interoperability; the proliferation of biometric companies and solutions necessitates the standardization there. It also protects customers of biometric products against vendor lock-in. The BioAPI — now in its second version — was developed to address these issues. It not only distinguishes biometric service providers, but also biometric function (sensor, archive, processing, matching) providers focusing on a specific part of a biometric application.

Bill Willis, ImageWare Systems: Without question, the emergence of the current standards have been a great help and guidance to the biometric industry to ensure that uniformity and consistency, as well as interoperability are intact.

Mike Scholten, DRS Infrared: I think standards are incredibly important if biometric systems are going to deliver on their promise. The present standards for measuring biometric system performance are both misleading and inadequate. Single values of False Match Rate (FMR), False Non-Match Rate (FNMR), Equal Error Rates (EER), etc. provide no indication of system performance over time, vulnerability to compromise or protection of individual privacy. Successful implementation of a biometric recognition system must address all of these metrics.

Mohamed Lazzouni, Viisage: Standards for biometrics are extremely important for the overall success of the biometrics industry. Standards will bring order to the chaos through three standards areas: compliance, operations and technology. Compliance manifests itself in legislation, such as the REAL ID Act and HSPD 12 in the U.S. The government takes an active role in these scenarios, governing the use of biometrics in a manner that protects personal privacy and sets the foundation for standards in operations. Operational compliance comes through standards setting bodies such as ICAO and is particularly critical for successful implementations. Finally, technical compliance will be important for the end-users of biometrics, allowing these customers to incorporate several biometrics seamlessly, even when provided by multiple vendors.