How Biometrics Works

Biometric technologies are defined as "automated methods of identifying or authenticating the identity of a living person based on a physical or behavioral characteristic." Unique physical traits, such as fingerprints, iris scans, voiceprints, faces, signatures or the geometry of the hand, can be used. All of those technologies share a methodology involving enrollment and verification. At enrollment, the person offers a "live sample" of the biometric, such as a fingerprint. This is scanned electronically, processed and stored as a template.

To confirm the identity at a future time, the individual presents the live sample, which is matched against the stored template. In a "1:many" search, the individual presents only the live sample, and the database is searched for a match. This is called identification. In a "1:1" search, the user presents a name or personal identification number along with the live sample. The system checks the live sample only against samples stored under that name or PIN. This is called verification or authentication.

Source: DOD Biometrics Management Office

Featured

  • Defense

    DOD wants prime contractors to be 'help desk' for new cybersecurity model

    The Defense Department is pushing forward with its unified cybersecurity standard for contractors and wants large companies and industry associations to show startups and smaller firms the way.

  • FCW Perspectives
    tech process (pkproject/Shutterstock.com)

    Understanding the obstacles to automation

    As RPA moves from buzzword to practical applications, agency leaders say it’s forcing broader discussions about business operations

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.