Biometric technology – the science of measuring and statistically analyzing biological data – is currently used to make it more difficult to forge identity documents like passports. But researchers in Indiana want to see if the technology could be used to do away with passwords. They are studying how fingerprints, hand shape, iris and signatures can interact with biometric sensors to improve security. Could passwords be replaced with iris or fingerprint scans?
Stephen Elliot, director of the International Centre for Biometric Research at Purdue University in Indiana said: “I can use it maybe to log onto my PC, I don’t have to do all this password management for example, changing my password every 30, 60, 90 days. It will continue to revolutionize identity management.”
But of course, before biometrics can replace passwords, the technology has to become extremely accurate. So in the lab they are testing for reliability. The scientists are even studying the impact of gender and skin characteristics in a fingerprint. In iris recognition technology they are working to eliminate false rejections to less than 1%.
Stephen Elliot explained: “I think we’ll see it in more in travel, for example, for border control, ease of use access. But also on the more consumer side. You see the phones coming out, the iPhone, the HTC got announced just recently, with biometric fingerprint sensors built on there. The thing is, we want to protect our privacy and also be able to make sure we don’t have fraudulent transactions, we’ll see the use of biometrics in that area as well.”
It just goes to show that the time is coming when forgetting your password could be no big deal!