Biometric Authentication and Public Safety

Biometric Authentication and Public Safety: Challenges and Solutions

Safety and security make up the second tier of basic human physiological and psychological needs as per “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”. While safety and security in the real world are important, advancing technology demands them in the digital world as well.  With cyber security being a major concern today, biometric authentication systems offer simple ways to promise this security.

Understanding biometric identification technology for public safety

Biometric authentication technology can often be a controversial topic when it comes to public security.

“When you combine the will to control people — using public security as a justification — with surveillance technologies [facial biometric recognition], you get a melting pot of racism, penal actions, and incarceration,” is what Paulo José Lara, the head of human rights in the digital space for Brazil and South America at a digital cyber rights organization, has to say.

There are many others as well who think like Paulo. However, understanding biometric authentication systems and challenges to cyber safety is the precursor to dissecting such controversies.

Challenges to public safety in the digital world

Unlike biometric authentication, traditional data accession and storage systems have many loopholes that often lead to serious cases of ID theft and data breaches.

  • On March 20, 2023, for 90 minutes, the NSW service department in Australia accidentally exposed personal data of 3700 customers to other online users. This was a great error on NSW’s part. Later, the NSW government department issued an apology. However, the incident still left all these people at greater risk of ID fraud.
  • Chats and personal data of multiple ChatGPT users were leaked on March 24, 2023. This data included their private credit card information including partial card numbers, full names, and part of their ChatGPT conversations. 
  • On March 9, 2023, a DC healthcare service provider leaked data of over 170,000 individuals. The data was then put up for sale. Moreover, since the company was also serving the U.S., House of Representatives, the leak entailed private information of US lawmakers and congressional staff. 

Biometric identification systems for public safety

On a large scale, massive data breaches and ID thefts have been the highlight of this century. In just 2023, we have already experienced some great scandals related to public safety.  Biometric recognition technology can be a key to solving these public safety concerns.

Biometric authentication systems create a safe digital space by promising safety of personal data, a safe environment, and lastly, secure financial transactions.

Using biometric security systems to build trustable communities

Biometric authentication allows businesses and communities to foster a safe digital space by processing each and every individual for their unique biological markers i.e., their Biometric IDs, during digital on boarding. With every new account passing strict screening processes, we get an authentic space with real individuals. Additionally, people or potential criminals are less likely to engage in cybercrime, when their identity is known.

Keeping identities safe

When biometric identities of individuals are being collected, companies tend to value their ID security systems a lot more. Biometric identification is a sensitive topic with frequently arising concerns from human rights organizations. This puts pressure on governmental as well as private institutions to be more rigorous with their security systems. Additionally, in comparison to traditional ID data, biometric data leaks also lead to great fines and penalties.

Safe financial transactions

With biometric authentication systems, there are strict screening systems for identification of individuals. Safe financial transactions make up one of the secondary but very crucial benefits of that. Biometric recognition helps reduce the likelihood of high-risk transactions. Additionally, through biometric authentication, we can ensure regular monitoring and regulation of even high-risk transactions. For instance, facial verification systems for remote card payments offer a great way to build up security.

Biometric identification and public safety – latest news

  • The PASS or Partner Alliance for Safer Schools recently updated and announced their guidance plans for K-12 schools. The goal of the update was to guide schools about improvement in their security systems. Implementation of biometric authentication systems was at the forefront with PASS recommending a government-regulated biometric recognition policy for schools.
  • The Sacramento International Airport (SMF) in CA recently announced its deployment of modern biometric recognition systems. These systems are to be utilizing Amadeus Facial Biometrics technology. SMF believes that biometric user authentication can help build airport security. This implementation is part of the TSA’s recent pilot program for testing facial verification at airports.
  • Belgium’s largest service provider for television, telephone, and internet services, Telenet, recently announced the adoption of biometric authentication for all their processes. The Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications (BIPT) believes that the company’s adoption of remote biometric identification will lead to more secure and reliable services for the public. Moreover, as per BIPT, this is a step in compliance with the country’s communications framework.

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