Biometric Technology: A Brief History

Biometric Technology

What is biometric authentication?

It is an innovative form of identification verification system which verifies the true identity of an individual by using unique biometric characteristics, including fingerprints, voice qualities, retinas, and iris. Biometric authentication tends to prove much more secure than conventional ways of password authentication, as it is impossible to duplicate or copy these exact characteristics. For instance, when you enter your name and address online to purchase something, you can rest assured that no one else is trying to steal your details, as it’s virtually impossible for other people to guess what your fingerprint looks like. Using iris recognition, it’s much more difficult to create fake profiles, which makes biometric authentication much more secure than most forms of password authentication.

How does biometric technology work?

Biometrics are increasingly used by businesses, and organizations, as well as individuals, to authenticate themselves online. Because it can’t be duplicated or copied, biometrics are much harder to imitate and hack. By using biometrics, people can be given access to information that normally only their fingerprints could have allowed them to gain access too. With the widespread use of biometrics such as fingerprints and iris scans, it is now possible to log onto a website with a simple click of the mouse, making the entire process a lot more secured and safer for everyone involved. Also with iris-recognition technology, you never have to worry about forgetting your username and password again, or having to write down a new one, and you’ll always be able to stay one step ahead of the cyber-criminals who may want to get into your personal life.

Today’s biometric security technology can also be used in conjunction with smartphones, allowing individuals to access their data at any given time and place, which removes many of the privacy concerns that people had about having their data protected when using cell phones. One example of this would be if you were going to use your smartphone to take an important picture of a special occasion, but you do not want to give your phone to anyone else (including your children), what do you do? You could hide the photo on your smartphone, but there would still be some degree of risk that your phone could be hacked into or otherwise compromised, which goes against everything that you are trying to protect. With the biometrics being attached to your smartphone’s, however, this is no longer a concern because it can’t be taken into a hiding place and compromised.

Biometric Signatures

The uniqueness of the human’s handprint and fingerprints, as historians believed, was long before used to serve as a person’s distinct signature. Handprints surrounding prehistoric cave paintings estimated to be 31,000 years old, were believed to act as maker “signatures.” And as early as the Babylonian period, fingerprints on clay tablets were reasoned to act as marks to sign business transactions.

In the early eastern trades, the Chinese were also known to use fingerprints to settle business transactions. Accordingly, they also use fingerprints and footprints to differentiate children from one another.

Identity Verification

Early biometrics also used unique physical marks to recognize known individuals from unknown people before. In Egyptian history, citizens distinguish trusted traders from others through physical features. In the mid-1800s, the Bertillon system of France used body measurements to identify first offenders from repeat offenders.

Later, in the late 1980s in India, Azizul Haque developed the Henry Classification System for Inspector General Edward Henry. The system organized the creation of fingerprint records indexed by physiological characteristics, allowing for more reliable authentication and one-to-many matching. The system was one of the first recorded studies of fingerprint patterns in history.

History of Modern Biometrics

Through time and research, biometrics eventually evolved to serve many more purposes. From the 1960s to the 1980s, biometric identity verification was integrated into criminal investigations through the efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). And in the 1990s, more funding was already given to the development of biometrics technology for commercial markets. Biometrics technology, as we know it today, has come a long way. Many more interesting events and exciting breakthroughs occurred before it became such a disruptive force in the 2010s.

Dive in further to biometric technology as you check out more about digital signature, visa delegated authentication program and its history with the infographic we have from LoginID.

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