What Happens When Biometrics Fail?
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Shoshana Amielle Magnet’s book When Biometrics Fail examines the failure of these technologies to live up to their promises. She argues that the assumptions they are built on, such as the assumption that bodies can be compacted into a biometric code, are flawed.
In the world of biometrics, a false acceptance error represents a major vulnerability. It can lead to security breaches, unauthorized transactions, and proprietary information being accessed illicitly. This can have severe implications for a business and its bottom line. It is therefore vital to understand and minimize the chances of this type of mistake occurring. One way to do this is by analyzing a system’s false acceptance rate, which measures how often it grants access to an unauthorized user.
A system’s FAR should be as low as possible to ensure high levels of accuracy and security. This metric is especially important for systems that require authentication to sensitive areas and data. For example, fingerprint scanners are often used in workplaces and sensitive facilities for secure access. A high FAR can undermine the credibility of these systems and cause mistrust among users. A low FAR can help improve these systems and increase user trust. It can also help prevent privacy violations by preventing unauthorized access to private data.
The false rejection rate (FRR) of biometric identification systems refers to the percentage of times that a system mistakenly rejects a genuine user by treating them as an unauthorized person. This metric is crucial in striking the balance between usability and security. A high FRR can frustrate authorized users by denying them access frequently and leading to poor user experience. This can also result in reduced productivity, and increased expenses due to the need to re-authenticate users.
Fortunately, the FRR of a system can be minimized by adjusting its thresholds and adding backup authentication methods. For example, fingerprint-based systems can be prone to rejections caused by dirt on the sensor or an incorrectly aligned finger. To reduce the likelihood of these errors, it is important to properly train the sensor with accurate data. This will ensure that the system recognizes true patterns and not false ones. A good way to test the performance of a biometric identification system is to measure the FRR and FAR.
There are a wide range of reasons why people use biometric recognition systems. These include reducing fraud and opportunities for circumvention, improving scalability and increasing physical safety. However, many of these systems are flawed in some way. They are also inaccurate, and they often cause false acceptances.
These false acceptances can result in unauthorized access to data or services, which is why it is important to put strong security measures in place and test biometric identification systems frequently for accuracy and dependability. Additionally, it is important to understand how these systems work and what factors can affect them.
Gelb says that using multiple biometrics can help reduce the rate of false acceptances. This is done by comparing different biometric traits to each other before deciding whether or not someone is authorized to proceed. For example, if fingerprints don’t work, iris or face can be used as backups. This system can also prevent spoofing and ghosting, which is when fake features are used to mimic real ones.
Whether through fingerprinting, iris scanning or face recognition, biometric identification systems are a multibillion dollar industry and an integral part of the security state. However, these technologies often fail. Moreover, they fail more often on women, people of color and people with disabilities. In a provocative account, Shoshana Amielle Magnet argues that the failure of these technologies is due to the assumption that human bodies can be compacted into biometric code.
This approach has led to a new form of identity fraud called synthetic identity fraud (SIF). SIF involves creating fraudulent information about a person, including passports, driver’s licenses and social media profiles. It can be used to obtain credit, bank loans and government benefits. The resulting false identity can have long term negative consequences for the person. The best way to assuage these negative effects is for a person to discover their authentic soul identity. This will change the way they relate to their reality and allow them to live a more fulfilling life.