Biometric protection… the future of personal identification and security

By Marius Coetzee, MD at Ideco Biometrics


Biometric identification systems or those based on fingerprint / face / iris / voice recognition have gained popularity in commerce and more companies are integrating these systems as part of their risk management strategies. A market that was once dominated by fingerprint identification is now making way for the increased uptake of iris / face identification and voice recognition, claim experts in the field… evidence they say of the growing relevance of biometric solutions to combat security threats.


“Escalating threats of international terrorism, the increasing number of incidents involving corporate espionage and evolving global cyber crime, particularly identity fraud, is fuelling the demand for- and investment in these systems,” says Marius Coetzee, MD at Ideco Biometrics.


“Identity fraud costs businesses and organisations millions and because of the immediate, accessible and pervasive nature of digital connectivity, anyone at any time can be a target; making law enforcement a challenge,” says Coetzee.


Ideco is Africa’s leader in identity control, workforce management and access control based on biometric solutions. The Company endorses its message of ‘certainty through identity’ by supplying niche and specialised products that are designed to protect users and safeguard assets.


The Company is an acknowledged industry resource centre and operates a national referencing database of identities (juristic & natural persons).


According to Ideco, South Africa’s early adoption of biometrics has evolved into a national registry at Home Affairs that enables accurate identity management from birth to death. The South African Police Services also actively use fingerprint identification in their criminal record centre.


Coetzee underlines the importance of supplying to the market reliable biometric solutions that would not only provide measurable business benefit, but would stand the test of a Court of Law, should the organisation become a victim of identity fraud.


“If we look at fingerprint identification technology a bit closer, there are a number of dynamics that come into play. For example, in a court of law, minutia points or those points which make a fingerprint entirely unique, must correlate with at least eight of these points on the actual fingerprint to confirm a successful match and be admissible as evidence,” he says.


Minutia points are the positions where the raised ridges on a fingerprint either split or end. On average, a single fingerprint has between eighty and one hundred of these minutia points. Advanced biometric readers are able to consistently and accurately recognise these points and assign a reference point to them.  


“However, if the device doesn’t accurately read these points, or includes irrelevant information such as sub-dermal flesh structures, then the information is based on both true and false minutia which can lead to a number of inaccuracies and risks,” says Coetzee.


These issues can also lead to false acceptance or when a person gets identified when he/ she should not be identified and false rejection or when a person gets rejected (not identified) when they should be identified.


“The use of technology systems that offer the highest accuracy makes all the difference,” Coetzee adds.


“Key features for consideration include the ability to accurately read damaged fingerprints and do so in extreme conditions, whether or not the biometric solution can grow and adapt to the changing requirements of the business and compliance with technical and regulatory requirement. All these aspects are important and must be taken into consideration,” he concludes.


Ideco Biometrics enables identification solutions within Governments, Law enforcement agencies and Commercial customers through the use of world class multi-biometric technologies. Our solutions not only meet the performance and compliancy requirements of our customers, but also cut costs and guarantee a ROI. Our unique model of system integration and service excellence reinforces trust in identity management, access control, workforce management, corporate IT and transaction authorisation. Today, more than 65 million identities are managed by our technology in environments ranging from Government departments, Banks, Retails outlets to Mines and Residential Estates.

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