Feeds

More accurate on the eye

Iris scan tech improves but other biometrics still unreliable

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

The Home Office identity cards team has reported progress in improving verification by iris scans, but problems with other biometrics apparently persist.

In response to questions from Government Computing News, the Home Office has claimed that the technology for iris scanning has improved. It has not, however, made any claims for fingerprints and facial recognition.

Verification performance of the three main biometrics were recorded as part of the study on user experience published by the Home Office in late 2004. It showed success rates of 96 per cent for iris scans, 81 per cent for fingerprints and 69 per cent for facial recognition.

This has fuelled concerns that the technology for a biometric national identity card, the legislation for which has now received royal assent, does not work well enough for the cards to be used effectively.

Answering a question on whether it regarded the rates as satisfactory, the Home Office replied: "It is true to say that at times in the past some difficulties have been experienced in successfully recording the iris images of people with very dark skin (on some iris systems). The difficulty lay in the ability of the system to successfully locate irises against a darker skin tone.

"The technical solution to this problem is now well understood, and lies in the use of infrared light, correctly controlled exposure and appropriate filters that enable an iris system to successfully locate the iris and record an image irrespective of skin colour."

It did not make any comment on fingerprints or facial recognition.

In response to other questions, the Home Office said it would test the biometric recording and matching systems, and equipment offered by bidders, during the procurement phase. This is due to begin very soon.

It said volunteers would be recruited from different ethnic groups to help it analyse the results to examine any differences in results by demographics. Also, it said that if any shortcomings in the technology arise it would require the suppliers to put in further development work.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet logo

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.