Iris and Facial Biometrics are Futureproof, Facilitating Use Cases with Throughput Requirement

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1Q 2022 | IN-6466

Biometrics are being increasingly integrated into identity systems. Where fingerprint is a staple biometric captured with respect to ID, its benefits and use cases differ to iris or facial scans which are more suited where a rapid throughput is relevant and align with the movement away from contact technology in light of COVID-19.

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Iris and Facial Scans Streamline Use Cases with the Need of Rapid Throughput


In wake of growing security concerns throughout the last decade, increasing implementation of biometric data within identity has been embraced. Biometrics offer the best way to enhance ID security, increasing the difficulty of fraudulent replication and tampering in comparison to the cases with simply personal information and photograph on the data page of a legacy document. The widescale availability of biometric enrolment devices in the ID ecosystem enables the capture of citizens biometric data and its storage in national registries and databases, with the hardware in many cases being capable of capturing a range of biometrics simultaneously, including fingerprint, iris, and face. Not only is biometric data in smart identity cards beneficial security-wise, but it can also enhance particular use cases where verification by presentation of oneself to provide biometric data can be made instead of presenting a physical ID document. A staple biometric captured is the fingerprint of citizens. Whilst providing unique identifying data for increased security, physical contact is a requirement—that being one which is generally being moved away from in light of the pandemic with growing emphasis on hygiene and the consciousness of the spread of disease. Furthermore, in instances where throughput is of concern, fingerprint biometric verification does not provide an ideal solution. Iris and facial biometrics enable secure identification in a matter of a few seconds and do so without contact, representing a modernized solution for instances where many citizens need identifying in as little a time as possible, for example, in airport security.

Dubai Airport's Iris Scan as the Blueprint for Modernized Border Control


Where fingerprint as an identifying biometric falls short in cases where speed of throughput is important, iris scans and facial recognition come out on top. An example case is identification in airport border control, where the speed at which citizens can be verified and pass through an eGate is of importance. Dubai is the busiest airport in the world and can perhaps be considered as the blueprint for modernized border control with respect to its use of iris scans to enable citizens to pass through in minimal time and without physical contact. This system was implemented last year, following on from its predecessor using facial recognition technology to permit citizens’ access. Iris identification is more secure than facial scans, with fewer false positive and false negative verifications. Equally, it being contactless by nature places this technology as the ideal one for this use case as opposed to fingerprint. It only takes a matter of seconds for a citizen to be identified and pass through the border, without the need for staffing or physical contact.

Futureproofing With 'Complete' Biometric Capture


All-in-one biometric enrollment devices are capable of capturing multiple biometric data types for storage in a registry or database. Even in instances where not all biometrics are required for a specific use, the availability of hardware that can capture all biometrics at once in enrollment should be taken advantage of to ensure futureproofing and use in potential applications further down the line. Where fingerprint is the go-to biometric in many cases, the additional capture of iris and face biometrics enable future applications such as the case of advanced identification in airport security. Whilst this may not be utilized immediately if a certain nation does not use the technology, this data will exist in the registry such that a smooth migration may occur upon its introduction. This not only applies to the aforementioned case in terms of throughput and contactless-ness, but also for further government identity related services, as well as in access in the enterprise space. China is at the forefront of use of biometrics in wider government applications. While its use of facial recognition in video surveillance for criminal convictions has gained criticism from a privacy perspective, the potential application of such technologies is clear and could see similar use in less sensitive contexts. This hinges on a complete biometric profile of citizens held by governments. While it will come at additional expense, with iris being the most expensive biometric in capture and reading systems, as well as raising concerns of privacy, citizen enrollment in ID programs may want to consider incorporating all biometric data types for futureproofing to enable future innovative applications, if budget permits.