How Customers Are Defining the Future of Biometrics

HQuality/Shutterstock.com

As organizations try to move beyond passwords, the government will need to ensure biometric systems are ethical and secure.

J. Kevin Reid is the vice president of national security and chief information officer of KeyLogic Systems.

In the past, biometric security was something many only saw in spy movies or a futuristic utopia. However, as organizations more consistently look at the potential of biometric tools, they increasingly become a modern-day reality. 

With individuals across every generation identifying a need for security solutions that go beyond password-based systems on their personal devices, commercial organizations are being incentivized to create products with biometric capabilities, whether it’s a fingerprint scanner to open your iPhone or facial recognition to enter an apartment building. 

» Get the best federal technology news and ideas delivered right to your inbox. Sign up here.

While this growing trend is important for consumers and commercial businesses, it will ultimately depend on the federal government to ensure these systems are ethical and secure. The Homeland Security Department is even looking into hiring a communications team for their Office of Biometric Identity Management, to avoid any biometric-related PR disasters. Just one example of how closely citizens tie biometrics with the government. 

Big Brother or Watchful Neighbor? 

Earlier this year, with legislators debating the ethics behind the FBI’s facial recognition database, many began to realize the sensitive nature of biometric security and privacy, as well as the ranging support and concern surrounding this technology. A large part of the overall concern was in the way the FBI aggregates its data. 

The Government Accountability Office determined in a May 2016 report the FBI needed to be doing more to ensure the privacy and accuracy of their data. In its database, the FBI has access to approximately 30 million photos to support criminal investigations from 18 different states. It was GAO’s belief the FBI was not doing enough to protect this information. 

However, facial data paired with fingerprint has been searched and collected for decades via mugshots. Only a subset of these mugshots on file are being uploaded into the FBI’s facial recognition system because the quality of older photos is not effective in identification. The FBI is using this data primarily for investigative leads not to actually identify an individual, the main source of concern with the general public. 

Regardless of the number of biometric data points the U.S. government has on file, there are various viewpoints on how exactly we should go about securing it, and the ethics of biometric are sure to remain a highly debated topic as our world becomes increasingly connected and data-driven. 

The Future of Biometrics

Though some are skeptical, there is a great deal of good biometric data can do for the United States. 

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity’s Odin”project, which was unveiled last month, has awarded funds to various organizations who agree on the positive impact biometrics can have. These groups are dedicated to improving and mitigating potential fraud found in iris, face and fingerprint scanning. 

The improved biometric technology we will have through the Odin project and others like it, will not only make the U.S. a more technologically savvy and competitive nation, but also a more secure one.

Recently, the State Department put out a request for information for a scalable, deployable biometric system solution that could work in junction between the already existing biometric systems at a variety of U.S. and Mexican agencies. This RFI is part of the Mérida Initiative, a bilateral partnership that was launched in 2007 during the Bush administration. 

The FBI is also actively working to improve its biometric technology capabilities. Last year, it certified MorphoWave’s desktop contactless fingerprint scanner, which can simultaneously acquire four fingerprints in less than 1 second with a simple wave of the hand. The MorphoWave desktop is especially useful in high-traffic environments, such as border control at international entry or exit ports and access control at public and private facilities.

In what may be one of the dwindling number of bipartisan efforts left in Congress, I am happy to see our nation working collaboratively with public and private organizations to find secure and advanced solutions to our most pressing security issues.

NEXT STORY: MGT Act Looks Promising But...

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.