[Answered] What is biometrics? Discuss potential applications and dangers associated with biometric technology.


Demand of the question

Introduction. What is biometrics?

Body. Discuss potential applications and dangers associated with biometric technology.

Conclusion. Way forward.


Biometrics are physical human characteristics that can be used to digitally identify a person to grant access to systems, devices or data. Examples of these biometric identifiers are fingerprints, facial patterns, voice or typing cadence. Each of these identifiers is considered unique to the individual, and they may be used in combination to ensure greater accuracy of identification.


Potential applications of biometric technology:

  1. Airport Security: Biometric technology to verify passenger identities has been used in several large international airports for a number of years and the technology is quickly spreading to other locations across the globe.
  2. Biometric Attendance: Workforce management is another field where the use of biometrics is on the rise. Fraudulent employee time and attendance activities are a common phenomenon in organizations throughout the world. Even government organizations now rely on biometrics for ensuring timely attendance of staff and accurate payroll calculations.
  3. Law Enforcement: Organizations like the CBI have been using biometrics in criminal investigations for years. Today, biometrics is widely used by law enforcement agencies across the world for the identification of criminals.
  4. Banking: Biometrics in banking has increased a great deal in the last few years and is being implemented by banks throughout the world. As global financial entities become more digitally-based, banks are implementing biometric technology to improve customer and employee identity management in an effort to combat fraud, increase transaction security, and enhance customer convenience.
  5. Healthcare: In the field of healthcare, biometrics introduces an enhanced model. Medical records are among the most valuable personal documents. It also helps in timely and accurate diagnosis through available biometric linked information.
  6. Mobile technology: Mobile integrates one or more biometric terms for authentication or identification purposes and takes advantage of smartphones, tablets, other types of handhelds, wearable technology, and the Internet of things for versatile deployment capabilities.
  7. Duplicate checking: It is another biometric process performed to determine whether there are individuals represented more than once in a database. This might be performed to detect fraud, such as in the case where an individual has enrolled multiple times in a social benefits program.
  8. Aadhaar: Biometrics are used in Aadhaar as a proof of identity linked to an individual. It uses Iris scan and fingerprints.


Dangers associated with biometric technology:

  1. Infringement of Privacy: The privacy of users’ data is at stake with the technology. In absence of regulations it would expose data to cyber criminals. Companies are not regulated, thus they may sell biometric data which can be misused for political purposes.
  2. State surveillance: The most significant risk with the use of the technology is state surveillance. China’s reported use of facial recognition technologies for surveillance in Xinjiang is such an example. This raises concerns as it might be misused for political purposes.
  3. Inaccuracy: Biometrics technology is inaccurate. Evidence shows that the technology is not flawless. For example, the technology has been proven in multiple studies to be inaccurate at identifying people of colour, especially black women.
  4. Predatory marketing: Software which analyses biometrics could potentially be put to use by some companies to prey on vulnerable customers. This could be done by segmenting extreme emotions such as distress and tailoring their products and services to these individuals.
  5. Stalking: Tools like reverse image searches can provide stalkers with more data about their victims. This is unsafe especially for women, who can be tracked and stalked and maybe assaulted by misusing information obtained.
  6. Identity fraud: Criminals who have collected enough personal information on an individual could commit identity fraud. This could have a significant effect on your personal life, including on finances. For example, fake id can be created by exploiting information obtained from persons’ associated biometric information. Crime like photo morphing can threaten the identity of an individual.
  7. Dark activities: There is possibility of misusing biometric information for illicit activities and markets like drug selling, weapons etc. By using stolen ids, Aadhar information, it also increases risk for being used in various terrorist activities across the border.


Biometric identification management systems offer higher security, convenience, accountability, and accurate audit trails – all attributes that motivate businesses to research and implement the technology for their own use. We believe that as time moves forward, we will see implementation of biometric technology continue to grow and be used in even more areas that touch our lives.

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