What Does Biometrics Mean?

Understanding the answer to the question, what does biometrics mean, and having a good grasp of the definition of biometrics is essential. Because biometric technology is here to stay.

The word, “biometrics,” is bandied about regularly today as it grows in popularity. However, many individuals find themselves wondering, what biometrics mean?

Biometric technology is only continuing to affect the world around us, so it is important to understand the definition of biometrics, how it works, how biometric systems work, as well as the pros and cons biometrics has to offer. Here is a closer look at the meaning of biometrics and other essential information on the topic.

What Does Biometrics Mean?

Basic Biometrics Definition

What does biometrics mean? A basic definition of biometrics is a scientific, technological method of authentication based upon biology. Basically, biometrics is the ability to identify humans using their unique traits or characteristics.

Biometrics also includes the technology and science of both measuring, identifying and analyzing biological data and includes technologies designed to analyze, identify and measure human physiological and behavioral characteristics.

Within the computer science world, biometrics is used for access control and identification. This technology is also used as a means of identifying individuals.

Understanding Biometric Identifiers

After understanding the basic definition of biometrics, it is important to understand the characteristics or biometric identifiers that are used to describe, label and identify individuals. Biometric identifiers are basically distinctive characteristics that can be measured, although these identifiers can fit into two different categories.

- Physiological – First, you have physiological characteristics, which are characteristics specifically related to the body and its unique shapes and forms. Some of the examples of physiological biometric identifiers include characteristics like DNA, iris recognition, fingerprints, palm prints, facial recognition, retina and hand geometry.

- Behavioral – Unlike physiological identifiers, behavioral identifiers or characteristics are related to the behavior of humans. This may include characteristics like the human voice, gait or even the typing rhythm of an individual.

Of course, while many different characteristics or biometric identifiers exist, not every identifier works well when being used for biometric identification or authentication. Specific traits that are used should be universal, unique, permanent, measureable, acceptable to the human population and difficult to counterfeit.

How Systems Work – Verification and Identification

Now that you know, what does biometrics mean, you may be wondering how biometric systems actually work. Biometric systems have two basic modes, including verification and identification.

The verification mode involves comparing biometric information with a template that has been stored in a database, verifying or authenticating the individual’s identity. The identification mode of biometric systems compares biometric information against an entire database, working to figure out the identify of an individual that is unknown.

For an individual to be added to a biometric system, an enrollment process must be done, which involves capturing biometric information and then storing it. Later, when information is captured, it can be compared with biometric information that was stored during enrollment.

The Pros and Cons

After learning the answer to the question, what does biometrics mean, it is essential to take a closer look at the pros and cons of using biometrics. While biometric technology offers many excellent benefits, certain concerns must be addressed as well.

- The Pros – One of the most important pros of biometrics is the excellent accuracy of this technology. It uses features that are unique, which makes it an accurate way to identify and authenticate users. Since biometric identifiers are so unique, this technology has staying power. Biometric information is also difficult to counterfeit, which is another benefit of using this technology. Many consumers appreciate that biometric technology allows them to do away with combinations, passwords, key cards and access badges, offering convenience and added security.

- The Cons – One con of biometrics is that some individuals feel that collecting biometric data is an invasion of their privacy. When implementing biometric technology, the reaction of users must be taken into consideration. Biometric systems can also be quite expensive, which is another con, although the price of using biometric technology is getting cheaper as the technology becomes even more popular.

By understanding the answer to the question, what does biometrics mean, and having a good grasp of the definition of biometrics is essential. With this information, you can better understand this technology that is becoming more prevalent in many countries across the world.

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By Vincent Dail

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