On-Line Banking: Factors Found to Affect Accuracy of Biometric Identification Systems

By Snel, Ross | American Banker, April 1, 1999 | Go to article overview

On-Line Banking: Factors Found to Affect Accuracy of Biometric Identification Systems


Snel, Ross, American Banker


Factors such as age, race, and profession can affect the accuracy of biometric identification systems, according to a study released this week.

International Biometric Group of New York came to this conclusion after testing 240 people from a variety of demographic groups on eight fingerprint and two face recognition systems currently on the market.

Experts in the field of identification technologies based on physical characteristics had already suspected that the elderly, Asians, and people who rough up their hands at work-such as construction workers-would be difficult subjects. The New York consulting firm said its study is the first of its kind to compare how a number of systems stack up against each other.

"An old-age home's cafeteria would use a different system from an office log-in," said Samir Nanavati, founding partner of International Biometric Group.

A system's "failure-to-enroll" rate, the degree to which a system cannot distinguish a user the first time a fingerprint or face is presented, emerged as a key performance measure, Mr. Nanavati said.

"We found the failure-to-enroll rate for certain demographic groups is higher on some systems than on others," said Mr. Nanavati.

The study examined finger scanning systems from American Biometric Co., Digital Persona, Identicator, Identix, Mytec, Sony, ST Micro Electronics, and Veridicom. It also tested face recognition systems from Miros and Visionics.

Also gauging individuals' reactions to facial versus finger systems, the study indicated that "people thought face recognition was as intrusive as fingerprints," Mr. Nanavati said. Yet they did not associate fingerprints with "Big Brother," he added.

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Hoping to promote biometrics while addressing concerns about abuse of identification data, the International Biometric Industry Association has laid out a series of privacy principles. …

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