FIGURE S.1 Sample operation of a general biometric system. The two basic operations performed by a general biometric system are the capture and storage of enrollment (reference) biometric samples and the capture of new biometric samples and their comparison with corresponding reference samples (matching). This figure depicts the operation of a generic biometric system although some systems will differ in their particulars. The primary components for the purposes of this discussion are “capture,” where the sensor collects biometric data from the subject to be recognized; the “reference database,” where previously enrolled subjects’ biometric data are held; the “matcher,” which compares presented data to reference data in order to make a recognition decision; and “action,” where the system recognition decision is revealed and actions are undertaken based on that decision.

FIGURE S.1 Sample operation of a general biometric system. The two basic operations performed by a general biometric system are the capture and storage of enrollment (reference) biometric samples and the capture of new biometric samples and their comparison with corresponding reference samples (matching). This figure depicts the operation of a generic biometric system although some systems will differ in their particulars. The primary components for the purposes of this discussion are “capture,” where the sensor collects biometric data from the subject to be recognized; the “reference database,” where previously enrolled subjects’ biometric data are held; the “matcher,” which compares presented data to reference data in order to make a recognition decision; and “action,” where the system recognition decision is revealed and actions are undertaken based on that decision.

interact with biometric systems—needs strengthening particularly as biometric technologies and systems are deployed in systems of national importance.

  • Biometric systems incorporate complex definitional, technological, and operational choices, which are themselves embedded in larger technological and social contexts. Thus, systems-level considerations are critical to the success of biometric systems. Analyses of biometric systems’ performance, effectiveness, trustworthiness, and suitability should take a broad systems perspective.

  • Biometric systems should be designed and evaluated relative to their specific intended purposes and contexts rather than generically. Their effectiveness depends as much on the social context as it does on the underlying technology, operational environment, systems engineering, and testing regimes.

  • The field of biometrics would benefit from more rigorous and comprehensive approaches to systems development, evaluation, and interpretation. Presumptions and burdens of proof arising from biometric



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