Biometrics, a Fashion's Gadget
not the real answer

   After reading articles,books and seen many movies on this theme, I see there're are a lot of people excited about this technology. People who really believe that this is a truly reliable approach to validate human entities for security screening purposes.

   However, I completely disagree with this and consider biometrics as just a fashion/trend gadget of our time. And here is some evidence I present to support my argument. Lets take the main components used in biometrics today:

  1. Iris recognition. Easy to be duplicated using a photo. Today someone can get a detailed picture of your eye from hundred of meters away using telescopes which are getting increasingly better and cheaper. This then can be easily printed on any surface and it will fool any recognition system not assisted by a human. Alternatively, this can be printed on contact lens so it ca even fool these which are human assisted. Or if someone is really desperate to get in somewhere, he could just take you by force or take you head of or just your eye. You have less of a choice then when you have your password deep in your mind and it's up to you if you want to give it away or not.

  2. Fingerprint. Even easier to duplicate, we let our fingerprints everywhere, on the glasses, on the door handles, etc. For someone to duplicate your id for a machine not assisted by a human it will be very easy. Not to mention the brut force methods. However, for human assisted machines might be a bit more difficult for the moment, but not for long with the advances in rubber/plastics. Not to mention genetics and plastic surgery.

  3. Voice recognition. Probably the easiest to copy and duplicate. On top of this it will be always unreliable, as someone's voice will change with to many factors, which we don't always control.

  4. DNA match. Well, there is still a lot to be done here and this someone believes will provide undeniable evidence. However, yet again, this will probably be difficult to fake for these machines which are closely assisted by human to make sure that you actually provide a DNA sample from you body to one you got form somewhere else. To get someone's DNA is extremely easy, easier then any of the other biometrics elements. We leave DNA samples on every object we touch, with each strand of hair we loose (thousands a day).

   As you can see, biometrics cannot be considered at all secure. In fact the current system based on passwords which you memorize are more secure because as long as you keep them deep in your mind it will be difficult for someone to access them. Biometrics by difference is based on static material evidence, which can be easily reproduced. This is why I think this method is just a "gadget".

   Well, enough with the criticism, and how about a real way you can probe identity and which cannot be reproduced or stolen? Did you ever think what does actually uniquely identify an individual and is not reproducible? I did, and I have the answer, which I will publish here as soon as I will have the time to mirror my ideas into a readable content.

Written By: Larry O. Lart, 21st of December 2001

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