Each person has unique physical characteristics. Some of them are derived from birth — DNA, fingerprints, hand geometry, vein pattern, iris. Others are acquired over time and may change throughout the life of gait, tone of voice, signature. All these characteristics are not repeated in any of the inhabitants of our planet, which means that they can identify an individual.
This is the basis of biometric technologies that help to recognize people by one or more physical and behavioral characteristics.
First, biometrics was used by the police of different countries. In the early twentieth century in the UK the criminals have started to recognize the fingerprint. Since 1998, Russia has introduced mandatory fingerprinting registration for military, police, customs and tax officials. In the 2000s, the United States began to photograph and take fingerprints of all foreign visitors. Today, many countries, including ours, issue biometric documents — foreign and domestic passports, visas, driver’s licenses. And at the airports of 12 European countries plan to install “smart gates” for biometric identification in passport control zones.
How it works?
With the help of special modern devices — scanners, sensors and other readers — human biometric data are recorded in a special database. The system remembers this information (for example, your fingerprint) and converts it into a digital code. Then, when you put your finger back on the scanner, the system compares the new code to what it recorded earlier. If the codes match, it will give the answer that it is really you.
What types of biometrics are there?
Face image. Modern photo and video cameras of smartphones easily “recognize” faces with the help of built-in neural network scanner. The image becomes the person’s ID. The technology can be used just to unlock the phone, and for more complex tasks — to make purchases, receive financial services.
Voice. Human voices have different intonation, pitch and modulation. The biometric system recognizes people by their speech characteristics. To scammers could not use ready-made records of someone else’s voice, to identify the user is often asked to say a random set of words or phrases. By analogy with a photo or video, the system compares this record with the one stored in the database.
Fingerprints. Today, fingerprinting is used very widely: fingerprints are needed for passport and foreign visa, for access to mobile applications of banks, in order to unlock the smartphone (now gadgets know you like your five fingers). And in Saudi Arabia from 2016 you need to pass fingerprints to buy a SIM card. Innovative companies are already developing a way to recognize fingerprints without contact.
The iris of the eye. The colored shell of the eye has a more complex pattern than the fingers, so this method of biometric identification is even more reliable. Millions of smartphones in the world are equipped with scanners, which, as they say, “by eye” determine the owner.
The world’s largest biometric identification system is Aadhaar. It was created in India, and at the beginning of 2018, it registered more than 1.19 billion people — more than 99% of adult citizens of the country. The unified system of the country included fingerprints, iris, photos of all residents, as well as their personal data: date of birth, name, gender, address, phone number and e-mail. Each citizen in this system was assigned a 12-digit unique identification number and issued an ID-card with this number. This card is considered to be an identity card. Indians are required to present or enter an ID card number and undergo biometric verification to receive any government, financial and other services that require proof of identity. For example, pass passport control at the airport, participate in elections or make a money transfer.