Minority Report Biometric Devices: Reality or Fiction?
It seems like every other article we read having to do with biometrics compares the new technology to Minority Report. The movie starring Tom Cruise is based on a book , in which futuristic characters can read minds, manipulate three dimensional and hands on screen displays, and scan their iris and other body parts for recognition without much consideration. In this version of the future, humans are accustomed to the daily requirements of living a technologically advanced life, for better or worse.
In the film, John Anderton, played by Tom Cruise is quickly identified in a crowd by animated billboards in one scene. He ends up replacing his own eyeballs in order to avoid recognition by the system. With new testing being done at the United States and Mexican border as well as Global Rainmakers’ venture into making Leon, Mexico the safest city in the world, fully equipped with iris scanning technologies, it’s no wonder that comparisons are made to the popular Hollywood film.
But some organizations are raising red flags about this potentially harrowing vision of the future. In a new report released by the National Registration Council, concerns both large and small are highlighted as potential problems with going fully biometric. As the article says, computers are not the human brain. They don’t act or think like humans, matching a picture of a thing with another as a unified whole. Computers on the other hand, take measurements. They measure faces, nose length, the distance between the eyes, and patterns in the iris. And these measurements change. Faces start to sink, fingers get wider, iris can even change over time.
In an interesting post at Discover Magazine’s blog, the author makes the point that biometrics, then, is an exercise in probability. A PIN is a precise match that is concrete in nature. But a biometric scanner is really just hoping to get a decent enough measurement for it to work. Of course there are problems with the technology. If the initial scan is bad, the entire database could be rendered ineffective. Engineers say they’ve been able to combat poor lighting conditions and non-advanced equipment, but in a probabilistic model there is still a chance for false positives and negatives.
And what about fraud? If a hacker were to submit the bit-code into the system to gain entry, there’s really no stopping them. Bankcards can be cancelled and replaced with new ones, but your fingerprint, your palm, your voice, and your eye cannot. Well, in the movies they can, but do we really want to go down that road?
The Fundamental Problems of Minority Report-style Biometrics
- Biometric Security: Crime Fighting Goes Minority Report
- Biometric Devices: An Increasing Presence in the Military
- New Biometric Devices in Hospitals
- Biometric Devices: Criticism Growing Against Scans in Airports
- Biometric Devices: Ear Scanning, An Alternative in Airport Security
- Aging Irises a Complication for Biometric Security Systems
- The All-In-One AOptix Face and Iris Recognition System
- Eye Tracking: Iris Scanning to be the Ultimate Reference Point?
- Eye Tracking: Iris Scanning Is Coming, Like It Or Not
- Beware of Problems With Iris Recognition