Biometric System

Definition

Biometric systems are using personal characteristics (directly linked to who you are) to authenticate or identify a person. A system collects biometric characteristics unique to every person. These biometric characteristics are then directly linked to verify or identify the individual.

What is a biometric system?

Biometric characteristics are processed through a biometric system, which can effectively compare face, iris, fingerprint, etc. to verify or identify a person. As biometrics is on the rise, biometric systems are being integrated in the most common areas of everyday life. The most efficient one is called Automated Biometric Identification System – ABIS.

How does a biometric system work?

A biometric system works with the obtained biometric data of a person, from which a special algorithm selects characteristics to create a biometric template. The system can then verify the identity of the person in reference to the biometric database. It can do so in a second, while comparing hundreds of millions of biometric data in the database.

There are three main characteristics on which we can measure the performance of a biometric system. They are the following: False Rejection Rate (FRR), False Acceptance Rate (FAR) and Equal Error Rate (ERR).  

False Rejection Rate represents the probability of detection errors by a biometric system, meaning it can not recognize a user whose biometric characteristics are already in the database. In case of rejection, the person needs to verify their identity again. From a safety and security perspective, this rate does not mean it is necessarily a negative result. 

False Acceptance Rate means the probability that a system fails and matches the biometric characteristic of a person with an incorrect template and gives the person permission to access. This can result in a potential threat as the system allows permission to an unauthorized person to an account, facility, etc.

Equal Error Rate is an essential indicator based on which a system accepts or rejects biometric input. This rate is the value of equality among FRR and FAR and represents the ideal number of errors of the two.

Each biometric method, whether it is face, fingerprint, palmprint, iris, etc., has different values for different rates based on which a system rejects or accepts the inputs.

Why is a biometric system used?

Although biometrics is mostly considered a modern technology, biometrics has been practically used since the 19th century. One of the first applicable fields was in the police and criminal departments. Collecting the measurements of unique characteristics of humans proved to be successful. However, the process of manually matching and comparing biometric patterns was difficult to perform effectively and was too time-consuming. Also, the possibility of human error plays its role too.

Nowadays, a complex system with modern technology is based on artificial intelligence and neural networks. Thanks to high-performing algorithms, awarded by NIST, successful facial recognition can be done even from low-quality or blurry pictures. This brings advantages to the biometric system, which can perform exceptionally fast, even when matching a biometric input in a large database.

Where is a biometric system used?

Biometric technology is fast-growing, whether in the fields of government, law enforcement or enterprise. The convenience of a biometric system brings benefits to millions of people while making various processes much easier and more accessible. The main advantages of implementing biometric systems are time efficiency, reliability, and precision of the results. For example, Innovatrics Biometric Identity Management System is built to suit the needs of any project even with minimal hardware requirements.

How biometric systems are used in criminal investigations?

A biometric system can be exceptionally useful in applications that require accurate biometric identification based on faces in captured footage, latent fingerprints, or palmprints. Our Criminal Case Management System with Investigation module can process high numbers of faces even from a livestream video. The facial recognition performance of our biometric system module was awarded by NIST FRVT for yielding excellent results in multiple categories. 

The Investigation module of a biometric system also provides grouping and categorizing prints into criminal cases to help organize the evidence of captured faces and obtained finger and palm prints. This feature helps investigators connect gathered information among unresolved cases and search for a match in the biometric database.

How biometric systems are used in trusted enrollment?

Self or assisted registration using an ID and portrait photo or a “selfie” is an easy step-by-step way to enroll applicants or customers. A biometric system provides trusted enrollment through features such as Optical Character Recognition (OCR), duplicate check, face match, age & gender estimation, liveness check, document authenticity and validity, and uniqueness of the applicant. All of the gathered enrolled data is stored in a central biometric register to access all the information or to avoid potential security risks. The biometric enrollment can be done using a web application, smartphone app, or dedicated mobile station when assistance is needed.

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