Beyond access control, biometrics can also be used in fraud prevention, voter registration and other applications, facilitating end users from a variety of verticals especially government and law enforcement.Biometrics are typically known as the “what you are” factor. They are often associated with access control whereby people go in a building after having their fingerprint, face or iris scanned. However, beyond access control, biometrics can also be used in fraud prevention, voter registration and other applications, facilitating end users from a variety of verticals especially government and law enforcement.
That was the point raised by Alex Tan, Director of Sales for Asia Pacific and Japan at Integrated Biometrics, a manufacturer of fingerprint scanners. Tan was a buyer at Secutech International held in April in Taipei.
Biometrics solutions have been there for some time and are often used in access control. They are the “what you are” factor, adding to the “what you have” factor (cards or keyfobs) and the “what you know” factor (passwords and passcodes) in a multi-factor authentication process.
However, beyond access control, biometrics can play an important identity management function especially in the government, airport and law enforcement sectors. At airports, for example, incoming foreign visitors often gets their face and fingerprint captured to ensure that there’s a record should something happen to them.
This is where Integrated Biometrics’ solutions come in. The company makes fingerprint scanners primarily for government and law enforcement users.
According to Tan, Integrated Biometrics stands out by developing and manufacturing FBI-certified fingerprint biometric scanners that utilize patented light emitting sensor (LES) film, the only biometric technology that can meet stringent image performance requirements of the FBI in a thin form factor. Solutions based on this technology can work in direct sunlight on dry or moist fingers and resist abrasion. Specifically, Tan mentions that their scanners have one of the best dry finger performances in the market.
“If you look at the general population or the demographics of fingerprint problems, about 90 percent of the problems tend to be dry fingers rather than wet fingers. For instance in very cold climate you tend to get very dry fingers that are hard to capture,” Tan said. “We probably have one of the best dry finger performances and have been able to address that problem with our technology.”
The scanners have a range of applications. For law enforcement, a fingerprint scanner is a convenient tool for police officers to carry around while in the line of duty. “If I stop somebody who is suspicious, I get him to give me his fingerprint, which gets captured and sent back to the central server to match against the database. If it's there, it allows them to ID this person immediately,” Tan said. “It's a very quick response solution.”
Fraud prevention and voter registration are two other applications cited by Tan. “When the government dishes out aid programs, in places like India in the past, there's been this issue about fraud. When I give 100 rupees to somebody, does he actually get the 100 rupees or 80 percent of that gets pilfered away because everything is just on a pen-and-paper solution? Today they have rolled out biometrics to ensure that the person authenticated collects the money,” he said. “We also have certain jurisdictions in Africa that are running national ID or election programs. They actually use this together with a mobile device to go out to the villages to get people enrolled and registered for elections.”
Beside government and law enforcement, Integrated Biometrics has been approached by commercial clients, too. “We have customers who are looking to deploy our scanners in casinos,” Tan said. “This is mostly to authenticate operators rather than visitors to the casino, so they can check who is on duty or who did not show up.”