Biometric Software

Biometric Passport

Biometric Passport - Security Developments

Biometric Passport

Security-related technology is continually advancing and the latest development involves the use of biometric technology. Biometric devices have become a convenient way to authenticate and preserve security. In this context, a biometric device known as a biometric passport is used to identify citizens.

A biometric passport is an information age identity document which makes use of biometrics to authenticate the citizenship of an individual. Unlike traditional passports, it does not solely rely on documentary proof to determine the citizenship of the individual. This passport is a combination of paper and electronic media. In this passport, the vital information, which comprises a unique biometric identity characteristic of an individual, is stored on a computer chip. It is similar to a smart-card, whereby critical information is stored on a computer chip.

This computer chip runs on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology which is again similar to that used by smart cards. The passport book design has an embedded contactless chip. This chip holds digital signature data. The RFID-based contactless chips in these passports have a memory capacity of 32 kbit. This storage maintains the data integrity of the information stored on the passport via the digital encoding of biometric data. It is used at border security and airports to confirm the identity of the individual.

The biometrics used for the identification of the individual in biometric passports occurs through fingerprint recognition, facial recognition, and iris recognition.

At the time of emergence of biometric technology, a comparative assessment of all the unique biometric characteristics of the human composition was examined to determine the most suitable format for use in biometric password security. The retinal scan, used for iris recognition, was found to be the best based on the established criteria for comparison.

Fingerprint recognition has also been found to be the most practical and popular for everyday identification purposes. Biometric passports provide a greater level of security than traditional methods of identification. They are not prone to forgery. Although biometric visas are not foolproof, they are a useful device in an age where terrorism and illegal activities need to be curtailed.

Potential loopholes and concerns over biometric passports: The introduction of biometric passports for identification purposes can also prove to be a big threat to the civil liberty and the privacy of individuals across the globe. Through these passports, the entire population of the world can be tracked by the biometric passport issuing authorities of their countries! This has prompted some individuals to consider this to be a potential invasion of privacy.

Electronic passports have been proposed as the citizenship authentication standard in the US, since Sept. 11, 2001, the day of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center twin towers. The use of biometric technology for passports is still to become fully operational in the US, as there are still some lacunae left in their implementation. Many other countries are considering adopting this technology for citizenship authentication. Even if it is used, this technology is still prone to misuse be individuals who are skilled enough to know how to exploit it.

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