The applications of biometrics can be divided into the following three main groups.

  1. Commercial applications such as computer network login, electronic data security, e-commerce, Internet access, ATM, credit card, physical access control, cellularphone, PDA, medical records management, and distance learning.
  2. Government applications such as national ID card, correctional facility, driver’s license, social security, welfare disbursement, border control, and passport control.
  3. Forensic applications such as corpse identification, criminal investigation, terrorist identification, parenthood determination, and missing children.

Traditionally, commercial applications have used knowledge-based systems (e.g., PINs and passwords), government applications have used token-based systems (e.g., ID cards and badges), and forensic applications have relied on human experts to match biometric features. Biometric systems are being increasingly deployed in large-scale civilian applications (see Fig. 1). The Schiphol Privium scheme at the Amsterdam airport, for example, employs iris scan cards to speed up thepassport and visa control procedures. Passengers enrolled in this scheme insert their card at the gate and look into a camera; the camera acquires the image of the traveler’s eye and processes it to locate the iris and compute the Iris code; the computed Iriscode is compared with the data residing inthe card to complete user verification. A similar scheme is also being used to verify the identity of Schiphol airport employees working in high-security areas. Thus, biometric systems can be used to enhance user convenience while improving security.

Fig. 1. Examples of biometric application. (a) Fingerprint verification system manufactured by Digital Persona, Inc., is used for computer and network login.(b) Fingerprint-based point of sale (POS) terminal manufactured by Indivos, Inc., that verifies the customers before charging their credit cards and speeds up payment in retail shops, restaurants and cafeterias. (c) Fingerprint-based door lock manufactured by BioThentica Corporation used to restrict access to premisesis shown. (d) Immigration and naturalization service accelerated service system (INSPASS), which is installed at major airports in the U.S., is based on handgeometry verification technology developed by Recognition Systems, Inc., and significantly reduces the immigration processing time. (e) Border passage systemusing iris recognition at London’s Heathrow airport. (f) Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv (Israel) uses Express Card entry kiosks fitted with hand geometry systemsfor security and immigration.

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