Biometrics: Security has a New Name
History of BiometricsUntil the late 19th century, Biometrics didn't appear in Western culture. But the advent of biometrics to identify an individual was established long before Western Cultures had any ideas about biometrics. The earliest recorded use of biometrics for identification occurred during the fourteenth century. Joao de Barros, and explorer and writer, wrote that Chinese Merchants stamped children's palm prints and footprints on paper with ink. He writes that they did this as a way of identifying one child from another. Identification in the West relied heavily on "Photographic Memory" for many years before Alphonse Bertillon, a French police desk clerk and Anthropologist, developed an anthropometric system (system of measuring human physical traits such as strength, size, reach, and mobility) of identification in 1881. The first precise scientific system widely used to identify criminals, the anthropometric system turned biometrics into a field of study. Immigration and Customs, physical security, and Computer Security. It involves measuring one or more unique physiological human characteristics -- the shape of a body, fingerprints, structure of the face, DNA, hand/palm geometry, iris patterns, and even odor/scent. Behavioral traits can also be used – typing rhythm, gait, and voice. These technologies have enormous promise because they can never be forgotten, lost or copied, unlike the current methods of cards and passwords. Instead of using something you have (like a key) or something you know (like a password), biometrics uses who you are to identify you. Biometrics can use Physical Characteristics, like your face, fingerprints, irises or veins, or Behavioral Characteristics like your voice, handwriting or typing rhythm. Unlike keys and passwords, your personal traits are extremely difficult to lose or forget. They can also be very difficult to copy. For this reason, many people consider them to be safer and more secure than keys or passwords.