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Monday, April 16, 2018

7 Pillars of biometric (3)

In this edition we discuss the last two pillars of biometrics: permanence and acceptability.  

6: Permanence
It is common to experience that some biometric features naturally undergo more changes than others, thereby resulting in a gradual reduction in their performance as time passes. Example, human voice is said to be affected by age, weather, and medical conditions. Fingerprints also get affected by injury, weather, cosmetics and corrosive creams. On the other hand, retina patterns remain significantly stable throughout an individual’s lifetime irrespective of eye defects. Retina is the reddish layer at the back of the eyeball which carries light impulses to the brain.

Permanence is the extent to which the trait resists the effects of aging and environmental conditions, and is able to withstand changes over a period of time. In making a choice of biometric for adoption, it is expected that the trait quality should remain minimally unchanged throughout the individual’s life, and that the modality should remain considerably stable over time.

7: Acceptability
Biometric acceptability is how readily users are able to accept to use it. The willingness to accept a biometric trait or to comply with its processes define the level of users’ approval and acceptability. There are a lot of reasons why people may choose a particular biometric in place of another, a few of them are listed below:
(i)            Intrusiveness: If it is difficult to use or if it requires special postures and repeated gestures, users will avoid it. Example, some facial recognition systems require the user’s face to be well illuminated, be tilted at an angle, maintain a certain distance from the camera, or put up a smiley face. Such requirements are regarded by some users as inconveniencing, compelling and therefore too intrusive.

(ii)          Hygiene: If the biometric system causes real or potential harm, users will be discouraged to use it. Example, during the ebola outbreak in some parts of Africa in 2014, fingerprint scanners were avoided due to hygiene concerns, leading to the adoption of facial recognition and other forms of contactless biometric systems as ready alternatives.

(iii)         Religious and cultural beliefs: Some cultural beliefs and religious doctrines forbid people from sharing public facilities such as biometric centres with the opposite gender other than their spouses. In such areas, biometric enrolment suffers great apathy.

(iv)         Data privacy: Biometric data is usually classified as private, therefore some users especially bank customers shy away from supplying biometric samples, especially where they suspect that adequate security provisions have not been made to protect their biometric information.

(v)          Limited versatility: A biometric trait or system is said to be versatile if it can be used successfully in a wide range of commercial and industrial applications without performance problems. The more versatile a biometric system is, the more it becomes generally accepted. Versatile biometrics are mostly used in voice, finger and eye-based recognition systems.

…to be continued.

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About The Columnist
Kenneth Okereafor is an accomplished ICT professional and Cybersecurity expert with over 20 years computing experience in Enterprise ICT innovation management in both private and public sectors. He holds dual PhD degrees in Computer Science (Cybersecurity & Biometrics) and Management (ICT Administration and Governance) with a first class Electronics & Telecommunications Engineering background. He is a United Nations trained Network Security Specialist and is proficient in Network Optimization, Data Protection, Biometric Systems and Digital Forensics. In addition to many published works and conference papers, Kenneth has participated at many international technology events, and has contributed to several national ICT development programmes including the design and development of the National eHealth Strategic Framework 2015 - 2020. He has strong research interests in Digital Innovations, Cloud Security, Cybersecurity Education, Biometric Liveness Detection and Green Computing; and may be reached at nitelken@yahoo.com

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