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Chapter 6. TECHNOLOGY, BUSINESS, AND GOV... > High Tech Tactics to Combat Identity...

High Tech Tactics to Combat Identity Theft

Biometrics

The term “biometrics” is derived from Latin, meaning “life measurement,” and it shows great promise in the battle against identity theft. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACT) even contains a provision requiring the Federal Trade Commission to study whether biometrics and other technological advances can be used to fight identity theft. Various biometric technologies that are being tested and used now include fingerprinting, earprinting, retina scanning, iris scanning, voice recognition, facial recognition, handwriting analysis, hand print recognition, and hand vein geometry.

At the heart of any effective biometric system is not just some sort of measurement of a unique physical characteristic of a person, but also the confirmation of that person's identity through comparison of those measurements with a readily accessible computer databank of the measurements of the general population. The most famous existing database is the FBI's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), which is capable of performing more than 100,000 comparisons per second—in 15 minutes it can complete a data bank review of more than 42 million records.


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