In the wake of 9/11, biometrics appears poised for explosive growth -- but even now, few people understand these technologies...or their profound implications. Now there’s an authoritative, nontechnical briefing on everything from retina scans to DNA sampling, accuracy questions to privacy issues.
The editors start with an overview of authentication: its goals, challenges, and economics. With that context, they turn to biometric systems themselves, starting with their common elements (data acquisition and enrollment, signal/image processing, and decision policy). Next, they cover the full range of current and envisioned biometrics systems. (It’s remarkable how many ways you’re measurably unique: fingerprints, footprints, facial and voice recognition, iris scans, signature recognition, keystroke dynamics, vein patterns, facial thermography, hand grip, skin luminescence, ear shape, sweat pores, brain wave patterns -- even body odor.)
Biometrics doesn’t shy away from discussing the limitations of existing systems (video clips played back on a notebook PC have fooled facial recognition software; fingerprints have been spoofed with water-filled plastic bags). Nor do they avoid the controversial privacy issues, though they find these issues far more manageable than some critics do.
If you’re in the market for biometric systems, you’ll find a structured approach for determining your needs, creating statements of work, and assessing your alternatives. You’ll find coverage of current and emerging standards, military and private-sector deployments, plus a case study of 2002’s facial recognition surveillance at the Super Bowl (a.k.a. “Snooper Bowl”). Whether your foremost concern is security or privacy, this is very important reading. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.